The Spring of Speed

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!

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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?
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10 responses

  1. I do a track workout once a week and try to do a tempo workout once a week. CrossFit has also helped boost my speed!

    1. I have heard that!! I’m working with my trainer through the summer but after that I’m really considering giving CrossFit a go!

  2. I need to work on increasing my speed. Over the winter I run, but I really slow it down because of the snow and ice. Now, that sidewalks are inconsistent *shakes fist at freeze thaw cycle*. I have found that I am really stuck at such a slow pace. I have just gotten comfortable at running around 7min/km that when I speed up I feel like I am going to die!!
    Currently I have taken last week and this week to work on strength training and cardio classes at the gym! April 1st, I will resume my running and see where I am at….

    1. That sounds like a good plan to me! My outdoor running has also suffered (but mostly because I’ve been wimping out at the cold weather!) Good for you for getting out there even in ice!!

  3. Just wrote a similar post, must be something about Spring! I think speed workouts are a great way to add variety and really push your comfort zone. Good Luck!
    http://randomthoughtrunning.wordpress.com/

    1. Great post!! I also like the “bang for your buck” on speed workouts. Quick and sweaty!

  4. Fancy new blog layout! I agree…intervals, hills, and tempos are all great speed builders. I know that box jumping is too, but we hardly ever do it. After this marathon, I’m done with distance for awhile, so I think my Spring will be about speed too!

  5. [...] a new 10K and 5K PR - This is the spring of speed! I’m running a 5K this Friday night and I’ve got a good [...]

  6. [...] honor of the Spring of Speed… I ACTUALLY raced my very first 5K this weekend. I’ve done it a number of times in [...]

  7. […] The end of spring always makes me a little sad because it’s the end of racing season. I love racing. I love racing more than I love running in fact… so I race a lot. I thought Broad Street would be my last race this Spring but, oh what the hell, let’s do two more. I’m keeping them simple and short… it’s the theme of the Spring! […]

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