By: Angela Joy
As a runner, it is only natural to come to a point where you want to see improvement.
Some runners seek to run further distances while other runners seek to run at faster speeds.
Regardless of your goal, I have listed below several types of workouts to incorporate into your training routine to improve your overall speed and endurance.
Image taken from talkfeed.co
One of the best ways to increase your speed and endurance is to create a change in your current exercise routine.
Several well-known workouts that improve speed include the fartlek run, the tempo run and interval training. Workouts that will improve endurance include long distance and hill workouts.
Each workout has its own challenges that will build strength, ultimately improving running ability.
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The fartlek, tempo and interval workouts are each different forms of speed runs.
Personal trainer and running coach Jenny Hadfield, better known RunnersWorld.com’s Coach Jenny, explains the differences between the three.
The fartlek run is defined by its Swedish meaning, speed play.
Ms. Hadfield explains a fartlek run as an unstructured workout that varies between moderate to difficult running paces, for different amounts of time.
While completing a fartlek workout, the runner can alternate between faster and slower speeds for short periods of time – such as to that tree or to that sign – followed by slower recovery pace.
“The goal is to keep it free-flowing so you’re untethered to the watch or a plan, and to run at harder efforts but not a specific pace,” Ms. Hadfield stated in a RunnersWorld.com article.
The fartlek run is a stress-free enjoyable run that will improve speed, stamina and mental strength, Ms. Hadfield explains.
The length and speed of the workout and should depend on personal running ability and goals.
An interval workout is quite similar to a fartlek run, however it does include structure.
During an interval workout the athlete will transition between intervals of fast and moderate running for set amounts of time, Ms. Hadfield stated.
An example of interval running is to run for five minutes as a moderate pace, followed by an increase in speed for 30 seconds, consecutively for 20 to 30 minutes.
Interval training transitions between low and high intensity. The result of this form of exercise is increased endurance and strength, creating increased speed and running ability.
Interval training is also known for its ability to aid in weight loss due to the increase and decrease in intensity.
The third form of speed training is the tempo workout.
The tempo workout consists of a warm up, followed by a high intensity speed run without rest, and completed with a cool down.
Ms. Hadfield compares the workout to an Oreo cookie. The warm up and the cool down are the cookie, the increase in speed is the cream in the middle, she explained.
A tempo run is often completed by an athlete either once or twice a week, due to its difficulty level.
The average duration of a tempo run is to maintain a high intensity pace for 20 minutes. The length of time the athlete will run should be determined by on athletic ability.
In my training experience I have found that incorporating a tempo run every week, or every other week, makes a large impact on running speed and endurance ability.
If you are new to running, it is best to begin with fartlek runs followed by slowly easing into interval runs and once you are fully prepared, beginning to incorporate a tempo workouts.
Through each form of training, the athlete will see improved speed mental strength, endurance and improved performance.
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Aside from speed workouts, runners can also the incorporate long distance and hill workouts.
These runs are challenging which often causes most people to shy away.
One of the most common reasons runners will shy away is due to lack of confidence and fear.
If you are a short distance speed athlete a long distance run by seem ridiculous.
However, increasing distance will increase endurance, creating the ability to withstand a faster pace for a longer period of time.
A long distance run does not have to be 10 or 20 miles.
Long distance can mean a variety of distances to different people.
Beginners may see three miles as long distance, while an experienced runner may see 26 miles as a long run.
The key here is to increase distance to your current workout – wherever that may be.
The long distance run can be done at a slow or moderate speed – depending on athletic ability.
A hill workout is one that is common among more serious, dedicated runners.
Running up a hill allows the body to utilize different muscles than when running on a flat distance.
This effort can be much more difficult for runners, which is what builds strength and endurance.
One form of hill training is known as the Jack and Jill run. The run consists of going up a hill at a fast pace and coming down the hill at a slow, recovery pace.
Incorporating hill runs into your training routine will create confidence as a runner. It is will also build new leg muscle, ultimately improving running ability.
Both of these workouts are great to incorporate in an exercise routine. They break up the monotony and can be both rewarding and enjoyable.
WHERE TO BEGIN
A new workout, such as the ones explained in this article, should be incorporated into a training routine once or twice a week. Anything more may cause injury.
Choosing the type of run that you would like to incorporate into your running routine will depend on the type of workouts that you enjoy, your fitness level, and your fitness goal.
Be sure that when incorporating a new form of running you stretch properly and give your body adequate rest.
Important: To avoid injury, remember that any new exercise will create new stress on the body which must be fully recovered from with rest, proper nutrition, and stretching.
Image taken from: espn.go.com
To motivate you to push harder and run faster during your next workout, refer to one of Oprah Winfrey’s greatest quotes: “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”
Your outcome will be determined by your efforts. The more you try, the better you will become – each step at a time.
You can do this!!
I thought this was cute 😉
Angela Joy: If you give these workouts a try, let me know how it works out! I am doing a tempo run today for 30 minutes — I am ready 🙂
Originally published in Night & Day Magazine