Following a few weeks of base-building, there’s no better time to focus on speed training. Speed training can be done in a number of ways but is most commonly accomplished using short intervals done as a dedicated workout once a week.
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For our purposes, short intervals refer to any distance equal to or less than one mile (1.609K is about four laps of a track). These can be run as fast as 5K pace (or slightly faster) and usually not slower than lactate threshold pace (the pace you could maintain for a full hour of running).
The purpose of running this fast is to improve the body’s ability to efficiently use energy as well as to eliminate the by-products of that energy production, namely lactate. Repeats of 200m, 400m, 800m, 1200m and 1600m are examples of intervals done to develop speed. These can easily and preferably be run on a standard 400m track, however, running them on a road or trail with a GPS is also an option.
The following are sample workouts that should be done on subsequent weeks during the speed training phase. They are progressive in that you will gradually run a bit more each week. The goal is to run at the same or slightly faster pace as time goes on. Be sure to warm up and cool down before and after the workout and also add dynamic stretches and a few (5 x 100m) strides before beginning the workout.
Week 1: 6-10 x 400m@5-10K pace with 400m easy between
Week 2: 4-6 x 800m@5-10K pace with 400m easy between
Week 3: 2 sets of 400m-800m-1200m@5-10K pace with 400m/800m easy between
Week 4: 4-5 x 1200m@5-10K pace with 400m easy between
Week 5: 2 sets of 800m-1200m-1600m@5-10K pace with 400m/800m easy between
Week 6: 4-5 x 1600m@5-10K pace with 400m easy between
In addition to this weekly workout, consider running 3-4 additional times per week including a longer run to build endurance. You can also add strides–5-10 accelerations of 20-30 seconds–to the end of your shorter easy runs.