Speed It Up


Since it’s Tuesday, I’m joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner)

The Topic for today is: What speed work do you incorporate in your running?

I was never one to do any speed drills. I used to run 5k races to get faster.

Well, that was then and this is now…

But we all have heard this before – You have to run FAST in order to get FAST.

So here are a few things that you can still do (without any short races) to get faster:

  • RUN VIRTUAL 5K RACES

Sign up and race them.  These are not the same as a “real” races but you can use them as speed drills.

  • RUN INTERVALS ON THE TRACK

Find a high school track and use it to do 400m or 800 repeats. It’s much easier on a track than on the road.

  • DO STRIDES AT THE END OF A RUN

So when you are almost done with your run, just run as fast as you can. Repeat this several times.

Honestly, when I am done, I am done. My number of strides is usually just one LOL

  • ADD SOME FARTLEKS DURING YOUR RUN

During your run, just slow down and pick up the pace for intervals of various lengths depending on how you feel. So it is pretty unstructured in that no pace or distance is prescribed.

I as many others probably do is just run fast to the next mailbox or post, then slow down. Repeat.

This is one of my most frequently used speed drills (though I may not intentionally use them for speed.)

  • TRY TEMPO RUNS

These generally include an easy warmup, then about 20 minutes at 80 to 90 percent effort, followed by a cool-down.  But it can be longer than 20 minutes too.

Tempo runs can often be easier on a treadmill.

  • DO SOME HILL REPEATS

Find a hill that takes between 30 seconds and five minutes to climb at 85-90 per cent effort, and run up it. Then jog back down to recover. It’s a great alternative to track intervals.

My favorite meme on this topic:injury | My First 5K and More...


I’m also linking up here:

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

Happy Running! Do you do any speed work? Have things changed without any races? Please share.

28 thoughts on “Speed It Up

  1. Actually, that is a good idea to use 5Ks to get faster. I remember Kim from Running on the Fly used to do 5K time trials for 12 Mondays earlier this year.
    I did a benchmark 5K on the track in June and wanted to see whether I could improve by the end of August. Injury prevented that but it is still on my agenda!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t consider myself a competitive runner, and certainly will never qualify for the Olympic Trials, so I often feel foolish talking (or even thinking about) speed training. But, it’s in the past couple of years that I’ve consistently done speedwork…and I’ve had some decent finish times in recent times. So….maybe I should have taken it more seriously in those early years LOL

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  3. Many years ago I trained for a half marathon with a local Fleet Feet group and we did speed work on the track. I really liked it and I did end up getting my half marathon PR from it, but now I’m just more about enjoying the run and don’t focus too much on time.

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  4. Thanks for sharing Darlene. I have not done a lot of speed work as far as intervals and all that. I mostly just run for my health. When I have an upcoming trail race that has a lot of elevation, I do hill repeats on this one particular hill in the woods near where I live. It is around 300 meters and climbs 60 meters. Which I’ve calculated to be a 15% grade. Sometimes my run will just be going up and down this hill! 🙂

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  5. I’ve also been using virtual races as harder workouts. Other than that, I’ve done alot of fartlek runs and a few other interval workouts. I’ve been avoiding hill repeats and should really do them again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely have not focused on speed this year since we have no races and I’m liking it.

      My area is pretty flat. I have to search out the hills.

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  6. The first time I discovered I could possibly get under 30 minutes for a 5K was during a 5K race! I always sign up for longer distances but as I had a race the following day I signed up for the 5K race on a whim, just planning to take it easy. Just before the gun went off I decided to belt it and was surprised at how well I did! So I really love that point of yours about signing up for 5K races.

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  7. Those are pretty much the foundations! Now, getting it done is another story LOL. Speed is the farthest thing from my mind right now, but I am trying to kick it up at the end of my runs, just to say I did something.

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