Most of us can come up with plenty of reasons to avoid speedwork:
- It hurts
- It’s too time consuming
- We may get injured
- It makes us too tired for our other runs
There are many excuses that can be made, but they are all unnecessary fears! Whether you want to beat your 800m PB set on the grass track when you were at school, or whether you want to outkick the runner who always sprints past you in local races, adding speedwork to your training will deliver results.
Speedwork doesn’t just make you run faster. It also makes you fitter, it increases the range of movement in your joints, it makes you more comfortable at all speeds, and it will ultimately help you to run harder for longer.
If you’ve already added a speed session or two to your schedule then you’ll know most of this already. But if you haven’t, then here are a few things to remember:
Ease into it – When you started running, you ran for just a couple of miles every other day, and have gradually built up to your current mileage. You didn’t suddenly start running 35 miles a week, so adopt the same approach to speedwork. Put at least three months of steady running behind you, then start with just one session every 10 days or so.
Not too hard – Speed sessions aren’t about sprinting flat out until you’re sick. They’re about controlling hard efforts and spreading your energy evenly over a set distance or time, just like you would in a perfect race.
Warm up and warm down – Before each session, jog for at least 8-10 minutes to raise your blood temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles and psyche yourself up for fast running. Follow that with some thorough dynamic stretching and then run a few fast strides before getting down to the tough stuff. Afterwards, jog for another 5-10 minutes, before doing static stretching.
Find a partner – Speedwork takes more effort and willpower than going out for a gentle jog. It’s much easier and more fun to train with someone else. And if you really want to improve, try running with someone just a bit quicker than you!
Quality not quantity – Speed training should not account for more than 15 per cent of your total mileage. So, slot in your speed sessions around the regular work you’ve been doing all along.
Article Credit – https://www.runnersworld.co.uk/health/speedwork-for-every-runner