Running speed training is not only for sprinters but is also beneficial for runners who run 5k or marathons. Also, heavy strength training and hill running make the muscles more effective and faster for longer distances. When you practice running speed training as a part of your weekly training program, you’ll begin using less energy to run at a given speed over longer distances and thus improve your running results.
Running Speed Training – Max Speed
One of the things I noticed when I started as a long-distance runner in a running club is the importance to have a good feeling in the body during a race. If it feels hard or fast right from the beginning, it often means that I have set the pace too high and will therefore have to slow down later in the race.
Your muscles have a maximum strength, and in e.g. a half marathon, the muscles cannot perform full load on every running step right to the finish line. As runners, we say that the muscles can perform a certain percentage of the maximum strength if they have to work for the entire distance.
If the maximum strength of the muscles increases, you will therefore be able to generate more power at your ex. half marathon pace and the muscles will be able to keep up with running at a faster pace. So, It’s important for both sprinters and long-distance runners to train their max. running speed.
How To Perform Running Speed Training
Running speed training performs best with heavy explosive strength training or short running intervals. Below describes exercises you can perform to achieve more speed through some effective running exercises.
A basic precondition for optimal training is that you feel ready enough in your muscles to run at high speed. The best results are achieved with interval training with working periods of 2 – 3 min.
After running an interval, you must either walk or jog in a short rest period of 3 – 5 minutes. If you are in doubt as to whether the break is long enough, you can for example run a fixed distance such as 100m, measure the time, and keep an eye on whether you start to slow down.
If the intervals start to get slower during the training session, you have either taken too short breaks, or you have done so many intervals that you cannot maintain the same level any longer. This means that you should finish the training session.
Below are 5 methods for effective running speed training. By implementing them in your weekly running program such as one of them one time per week you’ll attain higher speed on your runs.
Running Speed Training – Speed Play/Fartlek
Speed play/fartlek is a more unstructured form of interval training. But concerning speed training we make training sessions with accelerations. On a short training route, you run 4-6 accelerations over 100 m. Gradually increase the pace over the 100 meters so you run the last 20 meters in almost a full sprint.
Be sure to take adequate breaks in between to be ready again for the next acceleration. The speed increases from a jog to almost a full sprint. In this way, the body gets used to running at a higher intensity than usual. It’ll improve fitness, muscle strength, and the ability to run fast.
The sense of speed is also developed. At first, it might feel uncomfortable when you suddenly have to break the accustomed ‘tempo wall’, but you’ll quickly feel the uplifted state! Feeling the pace in the body will also impact both shape and motivation!
Running Speed Training – Trail Run With Stairs
Find a circle-shaped route that you can run in 2-3 minutes like a small trail route (As I do in the video above). Run laps where you vary the pace for each lap, alternating between calm, moderately hard, and hard laps (3 tempi), but not necessarily in that order. The purpose is to play with pace/intensity and the ability to change ‘gears’.
Accelerating up and down between varying paces gives a great variety and a strong positive sense of speed. Running in a circle also makes it more manageable. Remember to do a good warm-up. You can also alternate between which way you run the laps. This also makes the training less monotonous.
Running Speed Training – Running Up Hill
Training on hills is one of the best exercises you can do as a runner. You improve virtually every aspect of your running skills, strength, and ability to run at high speed. Take advantage of it and attack the hills you encounter on your way with aggressiveness.
Aim to use 3-6 training runs if you use a short route (as I do in the video below). Your pace should depend on the length and elevation of the route. In this way, you stimulate the muscles differently by having an angle on the surface, which has a unique strengthening effect on the legs.
Although the climb means that the pace is not your fastest, the heart rate will rise very quickly and the fitness will be lifted too. This allows you to gain more speed when you later want to run fast on a flat road. It can be a good idea to vary between short and long- as well as flat and steep hills.
Feel free to use the hills on the running route to provide variation in intensity, or use the same hill by running up quickly and walking/jogging down an appropriate number of times. As mentioned, it’s very effective training.
The tempo run is a cornerstone in the effort to become a better runner, whether you are a jogger or an elite runner. It’s basically about running fast over a longer period of time, typically 10-20 minutes for new runners and 20-30 for experienced runners.
A rule of thumb is that your tempo run should last 50-60 percent of the time a ‘normal’ run takes. The speed of the tempo run must be high, but not faster than you can maintain it all the way. You have to be under pressure but still run with a surplus.
The speed is usually what corresponds to participating in a 5 km race and running at max. pace. The pace must push the body. It increases fitness and moves the limit for when you meet the lactate threshold.
High-Intensity Interval Training
When you practice interval training, you divide the training into smaller periods where you alternate between short periods of running followed by breaks, i.e. you alternate between running at a high intensity and walking or jogging at a low intensity.
In this way, you get your heart rate up to a level that you normally don’t reach during continuous running training, where you keep the same pace all the time.
This means that your heart and circulation are pushed even more, and this is what makes interval training a super effective form of training in particular for runners who want to run faster.
Although the majority of runner’s training should be performed at a moderate pace, you should also implement high-intensity interval training into your training routine.
Because as we talked about, Interval training is the most effective method to improve fitness for runners, make them more resilient, maintain a higher pace on the distances and bring in more speed.
This is regardless of the distance you choose to compete at or participate in. However, interval training makes great demands on recovery, and therefore you should only do it once a week if you are a beginner or an inexperienced runner.
If you are a more experienced runner, however, you can easily perform interval training twice a week.
Remember that there must be time to recover, and get enough sleep. When you train, you break down the body. During the subsequent recovery, the body begins to fill the resource depots again and build up tissue to a stronger version than before you started the training session. That’s how you get in shape over time.
So it’s actually AFTER training that you get stronger, faster, and better. It’s therefore important that the body gets the right rest and time to recover. If you don’t give your body the rest it needs, you break it down and increase the risk of injury. Your training sessions become less effective, as the body cannot perform at the highest level. Then it becomes difficult to improve and hereby become a faster runner.
I hope you get something out of this post. If you have any questions about the topic or want to leave your own Personal review, please leave a comment below.