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Speed work for beginners and advanced runners
A rewarding and effective way to run faster

All the best runners use speedwork in their training schedule

"You only ever grow as a human being, if you are outside your comfort zone"
Percy Cerutty

Speed work is certainly capable of placing you outside your comfort zone, but any training is only as hard as you make it.

It's easy for runners to make excuses and miss training if you are running alone. If at all possible run with a partner, it's much easier and more fun and you will not want to let them down. If you decide to introduce speed work into your training choose a partner of similar ability.

Most runners can come up with plenty of reasons for avoiding speed work. Many runners include unnecessary fears, the most common being "I run Marathons, I don't need any speed work".

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced runner, adding speed work to your training will not just be immensely rewarding but will improve your basic speed. Yes it will make you run faster.

Fat Burning

There is a myth that long, slow runs burn off more fat than a shorter fast run or speed work. This is untrue.

We are not saying that you will not burn off fat by running long and relatively slow but we do say that the same amount of fat could be burned off in half the time by running harder.

If you double the speed at which you are running, you will use up three times the amount of energy. Long slower runs are great for Marathon training but we are not all training for a Marathon, or have the time for those long Sunday runs.

There is an advantage of speed work over a longer run - and that is the "after burn". Your body's metabolism stays higher for much longer. Studies have shown that significant fat burning can occur for hours after exercise.

Repetitive activities / intervals

Intervals are hard training, even for those of us who are fit. A foundation of Aerobic fitness over a period of months must be done first, then interval training can be introduced, building up over a number of weeks.

Periods of hard running at 5k pace or faster, with a distance of between 200 metres and 1,200 metres. The recovery time between the repetitions should be between 30 and 180 seconds.

Tempo intervals are longer intervals run at pace, but not as fast as shorter intervals. The Tempo  intervals last between 90 seconds and 10 minutes. Fartlek is a long run divided into varying lengths which are run at pace. Short hard runs followed by hard hills. Then the pace and length of the interval is constantly changing, unlike an interval session on the track, where all intervals may be the same length and the rest period between is constant.

Read our Running Programme for Beginners...

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