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Running Speed Workshop - Workout

Asphalt Green Tri Club

Running Speed – A Summer of Speed


·         There is skill involved in running! 

·         Ever wish you could just motor away? 
Wonder why that guy that beats you smiles when he sees a hill up ahead? 

·         Notice that the fast ones are quiet on their feet? 

·         Do you feel like you're shuffling instead of running? 

·         Want to be faster? 

·         Want running to be easier? 

After a winter of building endurance and a spring of building strength, you are ready for a Summer of Speed.  Weekly mileage should be less than what you were doing during the Base and Strength phases.  Efforts should be easier too.  Save your hard efforts for your races. 

Remember that old ‘80s saying: “Speed Kills”?  Well, for adult athletes it’s even truer.  Unless you are young (under 35) and have been training seriously since college, I do NOT recommend traditional speed sessions on a track.  The hard surface and tight turns are tough on your legs.  The competitive nature of track workouts will also lead to sessions that are too hard and lead to burn-out and injury.

There are many great ways to build speed.  Without risking injury or over training.

First, you need to have a good cardiovascular engine – so at least 12 weeks of endurance training is necessary.  Second, you need to be strong to run fast – so at least 8 weeks of strength training is also necessary.  Start you cardiovascular phase in the winter.  After about 4 weeks you can add strength work once a week and add speed work – in the form of Time Trials or races – once a week.  If you are a new athlete – less than 3 years of consistent, year round training, you should not add strength and speed work to your cardiovascular phase.  You can run an occasional race during the cardiovascular phase, which will provide a save strength and speed workout for you.

Speed work is characterized by long rest or recovery periods and short high quality speed efforts.  The focus is entirely on quality.  Attempting to run faster than you are capable of running will not improve your speed, but will increase your likelihood of injury.

Spend extra time working on flexibility.  Being flexible is important to running fast.

Periodization and Speed

Beginner – 1 year: only after base & strength phases

Intermediate – 2 to 3 years: can start strength during base, speed only during speed phase

Advanced – more than 3 years: can add strength and speed during base phase, and add speed during strength phase

Event Distance and Speed

Sprint Distance – include speed, match to distance of event – 200/100s, some miles.

Olympic – include speed, mostly miles

Half IM – include some speed, half marathon under 2 hours – miles and time trials

IM – need for speed?  Marathon under 4 hours – miles and time trials

Physiological Basis of Running Fast

          Cardio-Vascular Endurance – minimum of 12 weeks

          Muscular Strength – 8 weeks

          Neuromuscular Coordination – 8 weeks

          Concentric & eccentric muscle contractions

Biomechanics of Running Fast

          The “Secret”

          The role of running shoes

          Center of Gravity

          Foot Fall

          Spine Alignment

          Head Alignment

          Arms & hands

Drills – “running”

         Jogging with High Knees


         Skipping with High Knees

         Skipping with High Knees & lower leg extension (“pawing”)

         Running with High Knees

Drills – “in-place”

         Step Up Drill

         High Knees in place

         Jump Drill

         Cross Over – Knee/Elbow

Drills – warm-ups

         Toe Running

         Butt Kicks

         Side Skipping

         Side Skipping/Cross Over

         Maximum # Foot Contacts – in 10 seconds.

         High Knees – drill for 100 yards

         Stride-Outs – 100 yards comfortably Fast.

         Fast Running with High Knees – bring knees up high and drive hard forward, using hip and ankles to “spring forward” 3 minute jog recovery.


         Shuttle Relay

Workouts – “Speed Kills”

         Avoid the Track

         What’s the Goal?

         Stride Outs, Pick-ups, Surges (distance & intensity)

         Mile Repeats


         Last “repeat” – NEVER the fastest

         Advanced workouts – decreasing pace

         Event Specific distance Time Trials

Training Plans with Speed

Non Race Week

         Monday – Active Recovery

         Tuesday – Speed Drills

         Wednesday – Medium Distance with Speed Work

         Thursday – Speed Drills

         Friday – Active Recovery

         Saturday – Time Trial (5 Km to Half Marathon) or Medium Distance with Speed Work

         Sunday – Active Recovery or Long

Training Plans with Speed

Race Week

         Monday – Active Recovery

         Tuesday – Speed Drills

         Wednesday – Active Recovery

         Thursday – Speed Drills

         Friday – Active Recovery

         Saturday – Race 5 Km to Half Marathon

         Sunday – Comfortable Pace with 3 to 6 “pick-ups”

Triathlon Specific Issues

         Running off the Bike


         Physiological or Neurophysiological?

         Concentric & eccentric muscle contractions

         Cadence, circles & pedal pressure

         Stride Length & Frequency

         The last mile on the bike

         The first mile on the run


© 2004 - 2015 SLB-Coaching.com. All Rights Reserved
Neil L. Cook, 212-472-9281 or 917-575-1901 or Coach@SLB-Coaching.com or Neil.L.Cook@mindspring.com
"Sweet Lightning Bolt" used by permission.