A Faster 2016
You have ran a few races and it was great! Now you have decided just running is not getting you to your goal. You need to be FASTER! Trust me, I totally understand! Here are my personal favorite workouts to speed up your times.
- Fartlek Training - This is a tempo run that adds sprints at certain intervals. Many running coaches use this method to help their athletes speed up in the middle of a race. It works like this. Get a 10-15 minute warm up run in. Then run above your comfortable running pace, but not sprinting for a certain distance or time. Slow back to your normal pace for a certain distance or time then repeat. I am not putting in times because this depends on what distance race you want to become faster running. When I am training for 5K and 10K distances I like to make the total run one to two miles longer than the distance I am training. I usually pick up the pace for one minute then run at normal pace for three to four minutes then repeat when training for a 5K.
- Interval Track Work - Yes the old adage is true. To run faster you have to run faster! Interval work can be grueling. Especially if you have someone other than yourself coaching or motivating you. These workouts should be 30-45 minutes long and most of that will be recovery running. I like 400 and 800 intervals on the track. You must be warmed up really well. Like breaking a sweat warmed up before doing these! If you have never done this before then start with one or two 400s and call it a day. Build this amount up to 4-6 over a one to two month period of time. Make sure to do at the same distance or double it for a recovery between sprints. Wearing a heart rate monitor during this is not a bad choice either. You can record your base line heart rate after your warm up run/jog and then wait to sprint until you have reached that base line. With so many applications and heart rate watches out now this is so easy to do. Make sure you record all your sprint times. You will be amazed at how quickly you speed up. Doing one of these a week is more than enough to help speed up your running.
- Bike and Pace - This is my secret weapon workout. I have told tons of people that biking has made me a better runner. Adding a bike component to your running can build muscle your body does not engage as much running. This will add stability to your joints while you run. This stability will allow for less joint play while running cutting down on time wasting movements. Plus biking, as long as you are clipped in or on a bike where you have cages (spin bike) you will get stronger quadriceps and hamstrings. Here is the work out: Bike 10 minutes warm up, run 5 minutes race pace, 10 minutes bike 60% race pace or estimated heart rate max (EHRM), 5 min run at race pace, 10 min bike at 70% race pace or EHRM, 5 min run at race pace, 10 min bike at 80% race pace or EHRM, 5 min run race pace, 10 min cool down bike or run. This is a 70 minute workout. Again, start slow and only do what you can do. Work at building up to this workout.
How do you know your estimated heart rate maximum? Take 220-age or 206.9-(0.67*Age). Then you can multiply that by the percentage level you want to work at. For instance a 20 year old wanting to work at 80% would be 220-20= 200 x .8 = 160 beats per min. Remember this is just an estimate. To get a true accurate reading of your max heart rate you can do two 3 minute sprints with 2 minutes of rest between. Note what your highest heart rate was on the second heart rate is and call that your max. If you wear a Fitbit, Garmin, Apple watch, or other such wearable device you can run a 5K at your best effort and note hour highest heart rate on your application. That is probably a good indicator of your max heart rate as long as you were giving it your best effort.
Make sure after each of these workouts you get a proper cool down, STRETCH, and ice down any joints or muscles you were aware of during the work out.
WARNING! There is always increased risk for injury doing something new. You may be an expert marathoner but if you have never done sprint work you have an increased potential for injury just as if you took up a new sport like soccer or basketball. Your form is totally different with training faster and it does increase your risk for injury. It is best to progress slowly and build up into one of these workouts. Visit your trusted physical therapist or physician if you feel you are sorer than you should be. If you have any medical condition that affects you cardiovascularly you should consult your physician before beginning a new workout routine. This includes high blood pressure even if it is controlled with medication.