Running Speed Work

author : mbologna
comments : 0
I'm completely new to triathlons (just starting to train now), but I've been a runner for 20+ years, with a 5k PR of 16:15. One way to improve your speed is to do track work that totals the time and distance goal. For instance, if your target is a 5k in 20:00 minutes, set your track workout so the total distance of your intervals in a given session equals 5k. Each repeat should also be run at or slightly faster than your goal. At the end of the workout, you should have run a total of 5k of repeats at 20:00 minutes total time. (NOTE: I would not try to do this as your first track workout. Run fewer intervals at race pace or slightly faster, and gradually add additional intervals until you total 5k.

Here's a couple of repeat examples. I'll start with the end first. Near the end of your training, I would shoot for 3 x 1 mile at race pace with a 30 second - 1 minute jog in between repeats. To build up to it, I would start with shorter intervals. Early on, I would do 400m repeats (maybe 4x400 @ race pace), building up to 8-10 x 400m @ race pace. If you find 400m @ race pace too quick, try 200m repeats. Shoot for six or so the first time out. Run them at goal pace with a 200m jog/walk in between. The idea is to slowly condition your body to be comfortable at your goal pace, just like with any other part of your training. By starting with small chunks like 200m/400m repeats, it becomes more manageable. As the total distance of the repeats rises, switch to longer repeats until you can build up to the 1 mile repeats at race pace.

One other type of workout I used to do was ladders. Something like this:

200m w/200m recovery
400m w/400m recovery
600m w/600m recovery 

After the 600m recovery, either work back down with 400m w/400m recovery, and 200m w/200m recovery, OR just start over with 200m. The 2nd option is easier. Do two sets and you get 2400m. I really like this approach, as it varies things up more than just running a large number of 200s or 400s, but either method should help you reach your goal. 

One last point: watch your form as you do these repeats. If you find you cannot maintain good form at your goal pace, it’s time to stop increasing the total distance of the track workout until you get comfortable enough to keep your form throughout all of the repeats.

I hope this helps, and is not too confusing. If you want more details or have questions, just ask!

Good luck!

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date: October 17, 2004




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