Speedwork 101: Running fast is for everyone

Speedwork is one word that runners throw around in many ways. Covering a variety of workouts, with different physiological and mental benefits, there is an entry point for every runner. I’ll explain why.

Whether you’re training for a 5K or a marathon (or ultra), speedwork should be part of your weekly mileage. The benefits of speed work are well-studied and multifaceted.

Photo: Instagram/Tracksmith Running

What is Speedwork?

Speed ​​training (when done in interval sessions) involves running a specific distance multiple times at high intensity, with recovery in between. Intervals (or repetitions) can range from 15 seconds to 20 minutes (or longer) depending on the distance you’re training. Tempo runs, far trek workouts, and acceleration all work as different forms of speedwork.

Most of your running should be easy, but at least one workout per week should include something more challenging.legendary coach and author jack daniels to write daniels running formula It’s always important to know the purpose or intent of each workout. Regardless of how you call it, speed work is your goal if you want to speed up.

overload principle

The principle of overload is the idea that regular performance of a particular exercise enhances a particular physiological function, which in turn triggers a training response and improves fitness. When you run at a faster speed, even for a very short time, your body learns and adapts to become stronger and faster. This is the basis for training effects during speed work and running.

what happens during speedwork

During a speed session, our body is forced to recruit more muscle fibers to provide aerobic energy. This will improve your ability to use oxygen effectively.

Your body also increases the production of myoglobin during fast exercise.Myoglobin helps transport oxygen to your muscles and then to your mitochondria. Increased myoglobin meets a higher oxygen demand. Speed ​​training can also improve your anaerobic threshold. This is the highest intensity of exercise that can be maintained for an extended period of time without substantial accumulation of lactic acid in the blood.

Glycogen provides over 90% of your energy during a speed session. When you start speed work, that glycogen is quickly depleted, but over time your muscles adapt and store more glycogen for future workouts.

Mentally, speedwork teaches your brain to handle more pressure (you should do an easy run on less-pressure days) and harder work. Challenge yourself with a workout and you’ll be well-equipped to handle the effort on race day.

Get started today

If you’re looking to add faster runs to your program and don’t know where to start, pick one day a week and do 4 short repetitions of 15-20 seconds on flat or moderate road. Just do ~ 8 times. hill. Even better, alternate hills and flats every week to give your body an extra challenge. Allow 40 to 45 seconds of recovery time before engaging in a more intense recovery effort and enjoying the sensation of pushing your body a little harder.

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