My identity as a runner is not rooted in speed. I have been perfectly happy as a solid middle of the pack runner and get my kicks from distance not time. However, last spring I noticed that I was getting a little bit speedier from not really trying at all. I think I was just getting better at running and training for the marathon, so I was naturally get a little faster. Mike is a speed lover. He loves to push himself to meet new time goals and do track workouts. He pointed out that if I was getting faster without trying, maybe I was more capable of speed if I actually did put some effort towards it. Since my distance game has been off recently (you can read mournful posts here and here), I have officially decided to deem this… THE SPRING OF SPEED!
Some commonly accepted ways to improve speed are:
- Run consistently – this means both during the week (3 – 6 days of running) and throughout the year (don’t “stop running” or get completely out of shape)
- Include speed and hill workouts – Speed workouts are typically slightly shorter and more intense effort than mid-distance or long runs. Some examples of good speed workouts here, here, and here. Hills can mean just including more hills in your running routes or doing specific hill workouts. Some examples of hill workouts here and here.
- Strengthen your legs and core – I don’t think this requires a lot of explanation. Read more here and here.
- Do more plyometrics / sprints – I love plyometrics (I’ve talked about this before) and “jump” training is definitely associated with improved speed. Same with sprints! Read more here and here.
Here’s what I’m doing to get faster:
- Four runs per week. Monday is short, hard speed work. Wednesday is slightly longer, moderately hard effort. Friday is easy. Saturday is long run.
- Lady Ripped. I’m hoping that in my quest to get lady ripped and heal my knee injury, I’ll also get faster! I’ve been doing 100 x more strength training in the last month than I have like… ever. Hopefully I’m on the right track.
- Boot Camp style workouts. I’ve been attending a bunch of different classes and incorporating boot camp style circuits with plyo into my solo workouts.
- Actually racing 10Ks and 5Ks. Right now I’m signed up for one 10K and a couple 5Ks this spring. I normally never sign up for these distances and focus more on distance. I really want to improve at these shorter distances so I’ve gotta race them!
- Hills. I incorporate hills into pretty much all of my outdoor runs (I don’t live in a particularly flat area) but I’ve never done a proper hill workout. I want to give one a try sometime and see how I do.
Questions for you guys:
- What kinds of fitness goals are you working towards this spring?
- Have you ever worked on improving your speed? How did you do it?