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Training: Speed work

“The simplest way to improve is to run faster.”
– Scott Jurek

So many runners get to a point where they want to get faster, regardless of their ability. Once you obtain that speed you can work on maintaining it. I’m not just talking times here, speed training teaches your body to run efficiently – therefore engaging your core and good running technique.  Speed work is also a superb way to break the monotony of your normal routine.

 

It’s all about progress and that is a fantastic motivator in itself. Below are different speed sessions, based on a lot of reading from the likes of the Brownlees, Scott Jurek and others. These are a mix of their sessions and others I’ve learned at running club. They can be done on road, trail or track. Choose whichever you think suit you and your family/work commitments. Integrate one of these into your weekly running.

Brownlee brothers interval training

brownlees-training-maxnutrition

Image from www.maxinutrition.com

Taken from their ‘Swim, Bike, Run’ autobiography. Training faster than race pace is key for these. Build up – so do session 1 and only when you’re beginning to feel relatively comfortable with this should you progress to session 2 etc.

Road/Trail Session 1

  • 5 minute jog warm up – this is key to avoiding injury and loosening up your muscles, lungs etc.
  • 60 seconds hard, followed by 2 minutes easy
  • Repeat 4x (so 5 reps in total)
  • 10 minute jog warm down (slightly quicker than walking pace)

Road/Trail Session 2 (as you progress from session 1)

  • 5 minute jog warm up
  • 90 seconds hard, followed by 90 seconds easy
  • Repeat 7x (so 8 reps in total)
  • 10 minute jog warm down (slightly quicker than walking pace)

Road/Trail Session 3

  • 5 minute jog warm up
  • 10 minutes hard, followed by 2 minutes easy
  • Repeat 5x or 7x (depends on your time commitments)
  • 10 minute jog warm down (slightly quicker than walking pace)

Scott Jurek’s speed endurance

Image from iancorless.org

Image from iancorless.org

Taken from ‘Eat & Run’ – a superb book on eating and diet. Training at 85-90% of your limit is key to these sessions. This is all about building your lactate threshold so you can run harder for longer.

Your base has to be a routine of running 30-45 minutes at least three times per week for six to eight weeks. Scott claims that after four to six weeks you’ll be able to maintain your efforts for 45-50 minutes. This is something I’m trying right now!

Phase 1

  • 5 minute jog warm up
  • 5 minutes at 85-90% of capacity, followed by 1 minute of very easy running recovery.
  • Repeat 4x (so 5 reps in total)*
  • 10 minute jog warm down

 

* As you progress with this, work up to 8x repetitions in total.

Phase 2

  • 5 minute jog warm up
  • 10 minutes at 85-90% of capacity, followed by 2 minute of very easy running recovery.
  • Repeat 4x (so 5 reps in total)
  • 10 minute jog warm down

Phase 3

  • 5 minute jog warm up
  • 15 minutes at 85-90% of capacity, followed by 3 minutes of very easy running recovery.
  • Repeat 4x (so 5 reps in total)
  • 10 minute jog warm down

Mile Strides

HeatonPk-5mile-4These are a staple part of speed sessions at running club.  Fun yet pretty gruelling. All good stuff to push yourself I have to admit. Doing this in a group helps enormously and I can guarantee it will make you quicker.

  • 10 minute jog warm up
  • 1x mile at 85-90% of capacity, followed by 3 minute rest
  • Repeat 3x*
  • 5-10 minute jog warm down

 

* As you progress, you can do 5x repetitions in total.

 

Fartlek Speed Session

Another staple running club speed session and one that is great fun in a group. Developed by Nick at our club, this is one you can complete well within 45 minutes.

  • 10 minute jog warm up
  • 200m effort at 90% of capacity, followed by 200m slow jog recovery
  • Turn around and repeat: 200m effort at 90% of capacity, followed by 200m slow jog recovery
  • Repeat another 3x so you have done 4x pairs in total (8x hard efforts)
  • 5-10 minute jog warm down

 

Threshold Training

Another excellent session developed by Nick at our club. Again, group training makes this fun and motivating. Can be completed in your lunchtime too.

  • 10 minute jog warm up
  • 10 minutes out at 90% of 5k pace
  • 10 minutes back at 90% of 5k pace
  • 10 minute jog warm down

 

This excellent video from Sandi Nypaver and Sage Canaday cover the important link between speed training and running form. 

Hope you enjoy these sessions. Run like the wind and you can’t help but smile 🙂

Jeff