You’ve built up endurance, now what? Get those times down and achieve the ever-coveted PR with these speed workouts :)
Disclaimer: I am not a running coach, nor did I get these workouts from an outside source. These are from experience (4 years of high school cross country workouts, and 2 parents that are certified running coaches).
In their simplest form, track repeats start with an easy 5-10 minute jogging warm up, the repeat workout, and a 5-10 minute cool down. The goal is to push yourself, but try and stay around the same pace for all the repeats (give or take a few seconds). The different types for a standard track (4 laps = a mile) are explained below:
400s: A 400 refers to one lap around the track. Repeats are usually done by running one lap at a reasonably fast clip, and then resting for 1-2 minutes between each 400. Most 400 workouts are between 8 and 12 repeats, depending on skill level and how you’re feeling. You’ll often see the nomenclature as something like 8x400. This means the runner ran a 400 eight times.
800s: One 800 = 2 laps. These are done as 400s are, but with 2-3 minutes of recovery between each. 4-10 repeats are enough for this longer workout. (Nomenclature: 8x800)
1600s/mile repeats: 1600 repeats, or a mile, is 4 laps on the track. You don’t need to do as many of these, since the distance is quite long (2-6 will do). You will, however, have more recovery time between each repeat (about half the time it took to run the mile). (Nomenclature: 4x1600)
Flying 100s: There are many ways to do this workout, but I’ll recommend my favorite way to fly. Warm up with 10 minutes of light jogging. A 100 is a quarter of one lap (so the distance of one curve or one straight-away). Perform the flying 100s by jogging the curves and then sprinting the straight-aways (or vice-versa). I usually do these for time (15-20 minutes or so) and then cool down with another 5-10 minutes of jogging. Fly on!
Ladders: Ladders are probably my favorite type of repeat because it keeps my body (and mind!) guessing. A typical ladder looks like this: 200-400-800-1600-800-400-200. This means that you would run the repeats in this order, with the appropriate amount of rest in between each. The nice thing about the ladder is that you can modify it to your needs. For example, you could take out the mile, and just run 200-400-800-400-200.
Okay, away from the track now. Hill repeats can be done outside or inside and are a great way to improve your speed on and off any incline!
Outdoors: find a hill in your neighborhood that is not extremely long, but has a considerable incline. Warm up by running to the hill (or jogging on a flat road for 10 or so minutes). Run up the hill at a quick pace, and then recovery by slowly jogging or walking down. Repeat 4-10 times depending on the hill, ability level, or how you’re feeling. Cool down with light jogging.
Treadmill: there are many ways to do a hill workout on a treadmill, but I’ll just give you a basic outline of what I typically do. Warm up with 10 minutes of light jogging. When you are ready, set the incline on the treadmill between 4-10% grade. Run at a good pace for 90 seconds, and then bring the incline back down. Repeat this 4-10 times. Cool down with light jogging without incline. (I usually always have at least a 1% grade on the treadmill to avoid knee injuries).
No, this does not mean passing gas to boost you through your run (if only that really worked!) Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play,” and that’s exactly what it is! You can do these just about anywhere – track, treadmill, road, wherever! Whenever you feel like it during a mid-distance run, increase the speed for your desired distance/time. Then come back to the pace you were before. You can do this as many times as you want, and you can mix up the distance/time for each fartlek! Have fun with it, and do as your body/mind pleases!
Ah, yes. The dreaded tempo run. These were by far my least favorite workout in high school, but man do they work wonders on your speed! Warm up with light jogging for about 10 minutes. Then complete the tempo portion by running at a slightly uncomfortable pace for 10-25 minutes depending on ability level. This pace should be faster, and you shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation during it, but you should be able to hold the pace for the duration of the run (may take some experimenting to find that right pace, just listen to your body). Cool down with 10 minutes of light jogging or walking.
A final note: these workouts are meant to be hard, and if performed right, will hurt like hell. The key is to listen to your body. If something is extremely painful or you feel weak or dizzy – STOP. You want to be in discomfort, not total pain. As always, be sure to take rest days; they are just as important as any workout. Stay hydrated, and try to smile! :)
Good luck! May your feet be light, and your heart full xx
If anyone would like to add to these workouts, feel free to message me and I’ll edit it into the post with credit!
Singing at a #wedding tonight! Eee! #selfie