I recently was asked by fellow Chicago-Marathon-runner Penny about speed workouts and if I could offer up an example or two. Of course, I’m happy to oblige (cuz I love talking about running, obvs) so here we go!
First off, do not be scared by the phrase “speed workout.” Speed is a relative term, by which I mean that one person’s “slow” pace might be another’s “fast” pace. It’s all about pushing yourself beyond what is ‘comfortable’ (I use that term very loosely since we all know running is mostly a b*tch and rarely comfrotable.) Ya read me?
OK, cool, now that we’ve worked past that hurdle (look, a track pun! In a running blog! I’m so clever…), let’s talk about what a speed workout typically entails. If I told you it involves ‘speed’, would you slap me upside the head? Anyways, the point of a workout like this is to try and get your body accustomed to a faster pace. In order to do this, we have to practice.
So. What might a decent speed workout actually look like?
Here’s a goodie for you guys:
5:00 jog followed by your choice of Dynamic Movements (high knees, butt kicks, leg swings, sideways shuffles, skipping, etc)
*6 x 1/4 Mile Repeats at a pace that is :30 faster than your race pace.
*2:00 walking rest in between each one.
1/4 Mile is equivalent to 400 meters or one lap of a standard-sized track. And just so we’re super-clear, here’s a few examples of where your interval times would range, depending on your mile time.
If you run a 11:00/mile, you should run the quarter mile repeats in 2:15.
If you run a 10:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 2:00.
If you run a 9:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 1:45.
Tip-If you are unsure of how to calculate this mileage and don’t have a GPS watch, you can always use your car’s odometer or head to your local high school or college to use their track.
5:00-10:00 easy jog (you’ve earned it!)
Why is this workout so effective? Coming from someone who specialized in the 400-meter race in high school (ah, the glory days), let me tell you- It ain’t easy. It’s too long to be a true sprint but not long enough to slow down. This workout will teach your body to move faster for longer periods of time, so hopefully come race day, you’ll be ready to shave a few seconds off each mile.
If you try it, let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear feedback! Don’t be scared off by the title
Stay tuned for Speed Workout, Part Deux!