Speed Workouts

Below you can find a brief description of the different varieties of speed work so you can understand what is the expectation on each type.

Strides

  • Purpose:
    • Develop good running form
    • Exercise fast twitch muscles fibers
  • Description:
    • Start running at conversation pace
    • Built in speed for 50-100 yards and slowly decelerate to conversation pace
    • Overall distance about 100-150 yards
    • You should only peak at maximal pace, you should not try to run maximal pace the full length
    • Usually involves a repeast series between 6 to 10
    • Allow for full recovery between strides (heart rate below 120 minutes) doing a light jog
  • Tips:
    • Do a series of strides  pre-work warm-up or post work cool down
    • Use it to focus on your running form
    • Practice it on your long runs to recruit your fast twitch muscles and add variety

Fartlek (Swedish for “speed play”)

  • Purpose:
    •  Unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts
    • Practice fast running without specific goal of speed or rest interval of conventional track workout
    • Improves endurance amd good running form without adding much stress to the system
    • Add variety to your weekly work
  • Description
    • Target a total of 15-30 minutes of speed workout
    • Warm up 15 minutes, fartlek for 20 to 45 minutes, cool down for 10-15 minutes
    • Two main types: unstructured / structured
      • Unstructured
        • After warm-up start running fast from point to point selecting random targets (i.e. next light, stop sign, top of the hill, etc.).
        • Repeat series until completing length of training
      • Structured
        • Follow different minute fast / minute slow repeats
          • 10 repeast of 1 minute fast / 1 minute slow
          • stair: 1 min fast / 1 min slow – 3 min fast / 3 min slow – 5 min fast / 5 min slow – 3 min fast/ 3 min slow -1 min fast / 1 min slow
    • Pace should be submaximal with some maximal effort, heart rate between 70 to 90% of max HR
  • Tips
    • It can be done anywhere
    • Keep it creative
      •  “100 Steps Fartlek”
        • Warm up with a 10-minute jog. Pick up the pace for 10 strides (counted on one leg), then run slowly for 10 strides. Run hard for 20 strides, then recover with 20 strides. Work your way up in 10-stride, alternating increments until you’re feeling winded or hit 100 strides, whichever comes first. Once you’ve mastered making it to 100 steps, increase the challenge by going back down in 10-step increments or by increasing the pace. Finish with a five-minute jog to cool down.
      • “Indian file”
        • Get with 5 to 10 friend.
        • The group runs 5-10 meters apart, on command the last person runs to the front of the line. When the person reaches the front, the person at the back runs to the front. This continues until everyone has had a turn or for an agreed length of time.

Intervals

  • Important
    • Due to the stress that this exercise puts on your muscles intervals are recommended for athletes running more than 20 miles per week (it is not for novices!) and athletes who have done the base, hill and fartlek sessions.
  • Purpose
    • Train your system to efficiently absorb, deliver and utilize oxygen and remove lactic acid from your muscles
    • Through the session, the objective is accumulate time running close to 95% of your VO2Max capacity
  • Description
    • Short, intense efforts followed by equal or slightly longer recovery time
    • According to Jack Daniels, it takes 2 minutes to reach the point where you are operating at max oxygen consumption, so your intervals need to be more than 2 minutes long to be effective
    • Recovery time between intervals should be as long or slightly shorter than speed intervals
  • Tips
    • There is no benefit on running faster than your max oxygen consumption point and you will add unnecesary stress to yoru system, so you need to know that optimum speed (see running tables)
    • At the bottom of your training programs you can find information on interval target paces, consult with CRC Coaches if you have any question