Whether you are training for a fast 5K, want to complete a marathon or have fun on the trails, speed work is essential for becoming a faster and stronger runner. Speed training is a broad term that can encompass many different workouts.
When I started out as a runner, I was unsure on how to train or structure my training. Over the years I’ve learnt there are so many types of runs you need to become faster and improve your personal bests. When I started incorporating Speed Training, a whole new world opened up, along with many shiny new personal bests.
When you say speed work most runners think of the track. The track can be a great place to do speed work for a few reasons: the distances are measured, you don’t have to stop for traffic, and the surface flat. However, there are plenty of other options: you can do speedwork on the roads, treadmill, or even trails!
It is important when doing speed work to pace yourself appropriately. It’s not an all-out sprint or max effort. When you are doing a speed workout, you want to aim for an effort of 8-9 out of 10. You should feel as if you could keep going for a bit more in each rep – and finish the workout feeling as if you could complete one to two more reps.
There are also a wide variety of the type of speed work you can do;
Intervals; they are periods of high-intensity running, followed by periods of low-intensity running or rest.
Tempo; this speed workout includes reps done at a slightly faster pace than your normal easy run pace but not as fast as intervals.
My favourite speed workouts are;
• 5 x 1km at 5km pace w 2-minute walk or jog recovery between reps
• 12 x 400m at 3km pace with 60 seconds standing rest between reps
• 3 x 7 minute at tempo pace with 2-minute easy jog between reps.
For the above workouts I do 10 minutes of dynamic stretches and a 10-minute easy jog to warm up. I follow the workouts up with a 10-minute cool down run and some stretches.
My favourite shoes for Speed Training;
Topo Athletic ST - my go to racing shoe. Light comfortable and FAST. They are perfect for the shorter distance runs and races. I feel they are perfect for a 5km and 10km, track and treadmill workouts. Then they are also perfect for the gym to get those strength workouts in. The ST is the shoe I achieved my 5km and 10km PB in.
Topo Athletic Cyclone - another fantastic shoe by Topo, again really lightweight but responsive, you can feel this shoe really pushing you on to be faster. This show would be ideal for a little longer distances 10km to half marathon. Perfect for road workouts.
Topo Athletic Specter - a new shoe that is cushioned but lightweight and fast. This would be my go shoe for a marathon or longer tempo workouts. Plus, the colour ways are amazing.