Speed workouts are a very useful tool in training and can really help you get faster. I held back from doing them for a long time largely because I didn’t understand the terminology, or how to apply them to my running. Also because they sounded hard, and running can be hard all by itself, thanks very much.
So my game plan was to ignore these workouts and then try to run like a bat out of hell every once in a while and call it good. Which actually worked, for a while. Shockingly, that is not as scientifically proven as it sounds. I’m sure the Brooks Beasts Track team will be calling me any day….
ANYWHO. Let’s overcome our (my) fear, shall we?
So first, a glossary:
- Fartlek: This means speed play in Swedish and will make all of your friends laugh at you and say you should stop eating beans. Regardless, this is a lot of fun and great way to get into speed work. You can either pick a land mark to run to or do bursts of running fast for one or two minutes and use your watch. It isn’t intimidating for those of us avoiding trying new things. Ahem…moving on.
- 400/800/1200 ect meters: 400 meters is one lap around a track, or one quarter of a mile.
- Tempo: You know how people like to say inspirational things like “get comfortable with being uncomfortable?” Tempo is literally that. You just run a bit faster than you normally would and push yourself for the duration of the run.
- 5k pace/mile pace/10k pace: So, this means actually knowing what your 5k/10k/mile pace is. And if you are like I was, implementing the rhino on the rampage method, you probably don’t know. Do yourself a favor, and go to a track and figure it out. As the #1 fan of the treadmill, I am going to advice against doing this on a treadmill. Go to a track and listen to your body. Not in the “my body wants to eat cupcakes and sleep all day” kind of way. But in the, “this is how fast I can run 1 mile in” kind of way. Once you start racing, you’ll have a better base of knowledge, but if you are beginning, or want to reassess, this is helpful.
A lot of track workouts will say something like 3x 1000M, or (5x 400M)/Mile + (5x 300M)/1200M + (5x x 200)….Like I’m sorry….what does this even mean? Let’s just give up and get to the cupcakes. Ok, not really. Let’s break it down:
- Run 400M (1 lap around the track or ¼ of a mile) 5 times. Run them fast (because this is a SPEED workout). A good gauge might be what your normal 3k pace is. Rest for one minute in between.
- NEXT Jog for 5-6 minutes and then run 1 mile at your 10k pace.
- Jog again for 5-6 minutes
- Run 1200M (3 laps around the track or .75 of a mile)
- Jog for 5-6 minutes
- Run 200M 5 times at a mile pace. This means you run as fast as you would normally run 1 miles (aka Ricky Bobby fast) for 200M, 5 times over. Suck it up. It’s not even a quarter or a mile. And then you can job for 2 minutes in between.
Then once you are done, you get to post it on Instagram and show off your running badassery. I hope you tag me so I can see too.
My favorite speed workout is hands down, Yasso 800s. I have talked about them before, but too BAD. Scroll down if you already know what they are. They are super simple. You run ½ a mile and then cool down. Theoretically, the Yasso 800s can predict your marathon pace. If you can run ½ a mile in 7 minute mile pace (aka 3 minutes and 30 seconds), your marathon time should be 3 hours and 3:30 minutes. *I am praying to all the applicable and appropriate deities this is a true and solid fact.*
My other favorite speed work out is, not surprisingly, one that can be done on the treadmill. The Ladder. 60 minute interval training workout, not including warm up.
- 5-10 minute warm up
- 10 minutes at marathon pace
- 2 minutes recovery
- 8 minutes half marathon pace
- 4 minutes recovery
- 6 minutes at 10k pace
- 6 minutes recovery
- 4 minutes at 5k pace
- 8 minutes recovery
- 2 minutes at mile pace
- 10 recovery/cool down
You see there again how that tricky knowing your pace thing comes to play?
I can’t wait see hear and see how your workouts go!
With love & speed,