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The Secrets of Speed Training

Looking for ways to get faster?

Are you looking to add speed and endurance to your workout?

In almost any sport you can benefit from a combination of speed and staying power.

When doing your running training, you will spend most of your time training for endurance, building your base.

However, speed training is an important part of the running program as well. When done well and at the right time, it will take your performance to the next level.

Best Time For Speed Training

When you do your speed training is a bit dependent on the length of your running training program. Suppose you have a 18-week running program. Then the first 6 or so weeks will usually only focus on base building. So lots of easy, easy miles. However, as you get closer to race day you will want to include one or two speed training drills in your weekly routine to make sure that all body systems are optimally prepared for the rigor of race day.

Start with Warming Up

Always start your work out with a thorough warmup. Begin by jogging for about 10 minutes at a steady slow pace. You may opt to do some stretching and/or some motion exercises as well. I normally do those at the end of my workout though. More and more scientific evidence is being collected to suggest that stretching before your workout can do more harm than good. That does not mean that you can neglect your warm up though! Make sure you warm up your legs properly by running some easy miles. Speed training with cold muscles can give you very nasty muscle tears.

Some Ideas for Motion Exercises

Once you are warmed up keep your pace slow at first and do some high step walking. Lift your knees up to your hip level. Then gradually increase your speed until you are high step jogging while continuing to lift your knees to hip level. Other drills that can be added at this level are crossovers, which can be performed while jogging sideways while crossing one leg over the other. Due this drill right leg over left and then reverse, left leg over right. You can also perform heel kicks, while jogging kick heels to buttocks with each step.

To continue to increase your workouts you can begin adding the next level of drills. The first is the double leg hop, which is jumping forward over a type of marker, cones work great for this exercise. You can also jump forward in a zigzag pattern and then jump sideways on one leg and then the other. This will begin to increase your energy level and help to really warm up whilst doing some leg strenghtening work.

Speed Training Drills

Tempo Running
Tempo running is the pace which you'd be able to maintain for an hour. It helps increase your lactate threshold. Read more about tempo running here...

Interval Running
Interval running is a bit faster than tempo running without being an all out effort. You usually do a number of 2-5 minute intervals in a session. Read more about interval running here...

High Speed Repetitions
Repetitions are short burst, as close to an all-out effort as you can get without actually being one. They are meant to help you improve your running technique, stride rate and posture.

Fartlek or speed play is usually quite unstructured. You can do it by including shorter and longer burst of increased intensity runs in your workout. E.g. you could choose to start of at easy pace for 10 minutes, then include a tempo run of about 5 minutes, run easy again for a few minutes, do a sprint to the closest lamppost, run slowly, do a 3-minute interval, jog again, etc. Read more about fartlek here...

Billat's Four By Five
An interesting workout from the hand of French elite trainer Veronique Billat is the four by five which consists of four five-minute runs at a pace between tempo pace and interval pace. Read more about this workout here....

These are the most common types of speed training.

without a doubt there are more ideas out there.

After your speed training make sure you take some time for a few minutes of gentle running followed by some stretches.

Also important is to take a rest/recovery day after your speed training to make sure your body recovers from the stress you applied to it.

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