Speed workouts are for runners are ready to take their running to a higher level. There are many benefits to speed workouts besides the ability to go faster. Speed workouts help the muscles coordinate with each other which will improve overall efficiency, especially when running slower. The heart muscle is maxed out during the hard intervals. This also helps with overall running efficiency by making it easier to deliver oxygen laden blood to the muscles.
To avoid injuries it is crucial to include a proper warm-up session.
Jumping into a hard speed workout is a recipe for disaster.
Proper warmup includes
*A light run/ jog of a minimum of 1.5-2.5 miles.
*Minimum of 15 mins of light stretching exercises.
*One to two more laps of light running.
*Strides. 8-10 Click here to see how to do strides properly
Ideally all this is on a track but this is not mandatory. It is best to avoid running on pavement if possible.
After each workout, make sure you have a proper cool down. A light jog between one and two miles should suffice.
Please note that there are not target times for you to hit. This is simply impossible to figure out. There is too much variance to consider.
But realize that it almost doesn't matter. What matters is that you will be running way faster than marathon pace. This has several benefits. One is that you will be going into oxygen debt. This increases the lung capacity. For people that are always on the verge of going into oxygen debt on their runs the ceiling where one goes into oxygen debt increases. Running workouts at a way faster pace will make the slower runs even seem easier.
So how fast do you run.
Here are a couple of guidelines.
1. Your times should be consistent over the workout.
For example, Let say you are running the 200s in 40 seconds. Your last 200 should be essentially the same pace as the first or second. If say you last 200 was in the 45 range, this means you are running your others way to fast. Conversely if you know the last one out in 35 seconds then you may need to work a bit harder.
2. Your pace should be consistent during the run. You should be fatigued at the end, but not to the point of slowing down and collapsing.
Now the below workouts are only guidelines. Use them as starting points.
Note many tracks are now based in meters. Because of that I have based the below workouts in meters. For those that have access to a track in yards then simply run a 220 instead of 200 meters or a 440 instead of 400 meters.
Category one workouts
These are usually done earlier in the season. I will present a few options. Pick a workout which fits your sensibility.
Repeat 200s(1/2 lap)
Rest. 1/2 jog, or easy walk across field.
After the workout then cooldown for 1-2 miles
Objective. The idea of this workout is to focus on what many Long distance runners lack and that is speed. Now just like strides it is best to jog into the starting line. If you are running on a track, the goal is to be running close to full speed before you get to the turn. Then through the turn you should be focused on remaining relaxed while maintaining as much speed as possible. Once you get near the end of the turn, the focus should be pushing through to the finish. Now this is different from strides as you should never ever shut down till you hit the line. This is a bad habit. The overall goal is to learn to run pace, no matter what distance you are doing for the day. If you are shutting down your run in different places then, you lose the opportunity to analyze your pacing fully and you will not have an accurate gage for adjustments in future workouts. In this workout, you have two options. One is to go into an immediate walk and walk across the field or you can go into a slow jog and jog a half of the lap. in this case DO NOT WALK, the object is not to be fully recovered when you start the next lap. If this were a true sprinter workout, you would have all the time in the world to recover.