Two easy ways for beginners to add speed
These simple speedwork sessions introduce faster running in small dosesPhoto by: Unsplash/Jeremy Stewart
Speedwork can sound intimidating, and new runners often avoid it until they’ve been logging regular miles for years. Even if you’re fairly new to running, speedwork is an essential addition to your weekly mileage–and it doesn’t mean you’ll be sprinting around a track until exhaustion. You can do your speedwork on the road, trails, track, or even the treadmill.
If you’ve been running for about six months and are injury-free, it’s safe to start incorporating short speed sessions into your training. Try these two simple workouts to get your legs used to moving quickly. As you get more comfortable, you can add repeats or lengthen intervals.
Strides are a great way to begin adding speed to your sessions. Tack them on to the end of any easy run. Strides are like the multi-purpose tool of speedwork–runners training for very long distances will add them to training runs to remind their legs what it feels like to go at top speed. If you’ve never tried strides before, don’t worry: it’s hard to go wrong.
Start your strides running by going easy, focusing on a short, quick stride, and then gradually increase your speed by lengthening your stride. Focus on staying relaxed and running smoothly. It should feel like a controlled faster pace, not a sprint.
Easy run (approx 30 minutes)
Four to five strides of 15 to 30 seconds each, 45 seconds rest in between
If this workout looks too daunting, simply shorten your intervals so that they seem manageable–30 seconds fast with a one-minute recovery is just fine. If you need to walk to recover, go for it. Don’t worry about your pace throughout the intervals, simply go by effort.
Warm up with 10 minutes easy running
Five to eight repeats of one minute hard followed by two minutes easy running or walking to recover
Cool down with five to 10 minutes easy running
Recovery is a key component of speedwork, whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner. In these beginner speed workouts, the recovery intervals are longer in duration than the hard intervals. As you build strength, you can cut down recovery time to make the workouts more challenging. Speed workouts are considered hard training days so you will need a very easy recovery running or rest day following one.