About Speed Training

Overview

Speed training is not limited to college and professional runners. Speed workouts improve running speed, cardiovascular fitness and add interest to your runs. Speed training, like running in general, can take place on a track, a trail, the road or a treadmill, making it fit into nearly any lifestyle.

Function

Speed training teaches your body to maintain a faster pace than the one you are comfortable running. It benefits anyone wishing to run faster, whether the goal is a faster 5k time or to catch the eye of a college track coach. While running speed is partially linked to genetics, anyone can run faster through speed training.

Types

Speed training teaches your body to run faster in several ways. Downhill running increases how quickly your feet turn over. Tempo runs train your body to maintain a fast pace without lactic acid building up in your muscles. Track workouts teach you what a faster pace feels like and gives you confidence that you can maintain it.

Schedule

Speed training belongs in a well-rounded training program, but it isn’t the only workout you should include. Long runs and easy recovery runs help you develop as a runner. You should also schedule off days and cross-training workouts, such as swimming or cycling.

Considerations

Running hard every day will eventually lead to overtraining. Symptoms of overtraining include an elevated heart rate while at rest, an increase in colds or other infections, reduced desire to exercise, trouble sleeping and increased anxiety. If you experience symptoms of overtraining, reduce your workout schedule, get more rest and add cross-training activities into your program. When you feel ready to increase your schedule, do so gradually.

Warning

Speed training is an intense form of exercise, which increases your risk of injury. To reduce your risk of injury, warm up with a light jog before you begin your workout, and stretch thoroughly when you are finished. Wear properly fitted running shoes with shock absorption, and replace them every 250 to 500 miles. Listen to your body, and don’t ignore pain.

About this Author

Amy Hunter has been a writer since 1998. She writes about health and lifestyle issues and enjoys writing about hiking, camping, trail running and other outdoor activities. Her work has appeared in “Sacramento Parent,” ASPCA\’s “Animal Watch” and other print and online publications. She is the author of “The History of Mexico” and “Tony Gonzalez: Superstar of Pro Football,” aimed at young-adult readers.