I love to run, and I love to run fast.
There are several different types of runs that will help us get faster, but today I’m talking about track repeats. I don’t necessarily love the work that goes into getting faster through track workouts until I’m in my second or third repeat; but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
When I started training for my first marathon, Miles invited me to join him and his friends at a local high school track at lunchtime for an hour-long speed workout. I was too intimidated to join them at first, but after several phone calls, Miles convinced me to show up. I quickly realized that even though I was the only girl, I wasn’t the slowest runner. In fact, I consistently finished in the middle of the pack, and soon felt like “one of the guys.”
When I coached for Sport & Health, I met my runners at the track on Tuesday evenings for our weekly speed workout. I chose Tuesday so their legs could rest for a couple of days after their Saturday long run and still have a few days before their next Saturday long run. I coached for Sport & Health for about five years and once I left there, my husband and I continued doing track workouts regularly for a year or so. I usually see clients early in the morning and in the evening, so these days I rarely make it to the track when my husband and friends meet for intervals.
There are a few things to consider before adding speed work to your weekly running routine. I required my runners to have a solid running base of at least 20 miles per week for a minimum of six to twelve weeks before starting my program. When the temperature rises, be sure to stay well hydrated by bringing plenty of water or sports drink with you for before, during, and after your workout. During the hot months, it is best to plan your track workouts for early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler.
Always warm up with at least a mile run (four laps) when you get to the track. After your warm-up, you can stretch and loosen up a little more with easy strides, dynamic stretches, etc. Never stretch before you do an easy warm-up. The workouts below are examples of what I had my runners do, based on their goals and experience coming into my program. You may want to tweak this a little to fit it into your workout plan. The “B” before the repeat distance stands for beginner, and the “I” stands for intermediate. All distances are in meters.
After you have completed your repeats, cool down with an easy mile run. After your cool-down run, you can do some core work such as planks, side-planks, supine flutter kicks, supine scissors, bicycles, Russian twists, V-seats, etc. and then stretch. If you choose to skip the core workout, don’t forget to stretch before heading home.
- Do you currently incorporate speed into your workouts?
- Do you do core specific exercises?
- Did anyone race today or plan to race tomorrow?