Some runners hate doing speedwork sessions. As runners, we all have different body types, fitness levels, strength, or pace. To keep running strong, feeling good and happy, we have to focus on increasing our fitness level, pace and endurance, but according to our body type, fortunately we have other training options to get faster.
Some runners love running fast, they always run their easy runs too fast or smashing every interval. And then there are some runners who love to run, and want to reach their goals, but the idea of performing speedwork sessions causes anxiety, fear, stress, or even a bit of dislike. Even some runners feeling stressed with speedwork, can’t sleep the night before a session.
For runners who hate speed days, prefer more leisurely, no-pressure easy runs instead, and are running because they always enjoy their runs, there are other options to increase the running pace and even muscle strength.
So can you avoid speedwork all together and still get faster, but for runners who enjoy performing speedwork sessions, they are very helpful to increase the running performance and staying strong, so keep doing and enjoy these speed sessions.
Reaching your peak fitness in endurance running involves the right combination of long runs, easy runs, speedwork, recovery, good nutrition, and good sleep.
And that’s one of the big attractions of running, do the work and get the results.
But if you love running as a way to clear your head and stay in shape, but your life is full of other things that happily take other priorities, smashing out 400m intervals just isn’t at the top of the list. Or maybe you’ve been a runner for a long time and have done speedwork sessions and you hated it then and you hate it now, that it just part of different personality and body type. Running to stay fit, healthy, happy and reduce stress is another great running version. Simply running on a consistent basis, whether that’s nearly every day or every other day, at a mainly easy pace is a fantastic habit to get into.
Some research showed that even modest amounts of running, around total of 50 minutes a week at any pace, causes a 30% drop in death risk and increase three years in lifetime compared to people who never run.
And another research found that veteran American marathoners had only half as much arthritis as non-runners, even after age 65.
So if you love to run and easy or moderate pace makes you happy, keep doing it. Your body and your mind will thank you.
In order to improve anything, we need to increase our motivation, so if we have been doing the same thing for a long time, we are unlikely to see better results. But if you are new to running, simply running more, even at an easy pace will make you a faster runner eventually, no speed sessions required.
And running more can help even older runners improve since the more we run, the more efficient we will get at running, meaning we can run faster with less effort. We will see a bit of increase in our pace.
Faster Pace Alternative Training
Strides are 100m or 200m accelerations where you accelerate gradually over 25m, you start at a jog then increase to about 85-95% of your max speed and then gradually slow to a stop. One 100m stride should take about 20-30 secs, take a 45-60 secs recovery between each stride, either jog slowly or walk. Perform strides on a flat terrain, and to avoid injuries make sure you increase your speed gradually. Start by adding 4 strides to a shorter run. As you progress add 6 strides, up to 8 strides at the end of a longer run, with 1 slower km left to recover. This is a good training to add to your own run, simple to add and efficient to increase your speed, cadence, VO2 max and activate your fast-twitch muscles without speedwork.
1. 100m Stride- Run 4-8 Strides at 85-95%of your max speed for 20- 30secs with 45-60 secs recovery jog.
2. 200m Stride- Run 4-8 Strides at 85-95% your max speed for 30-45 secs, by accelerating during the first 25m with 45-60 secs recovery jog.
3. 100m/200m Stride Combo- Run 4-8 Strides at 85-95% of your max speed, alternating between 100m and 200m Strides with 45-60 secs recovery jog.
Training with hill repeats is another great alternative speedwork training session. Running uphill helps build up strength in our glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Using our core and arms on the uphill is also very important to support a proper running form. Adding hill repeats to our runs, will help increase our endurance and speed when running on smooth and flat surfaces. Hill training provides a lot of intensity training but with less impact on the joints than performing speedwork on flat roads.
Find a nice road hill 50-100m distance. Start with a 5K warm up run at a comfortable pace, then start running up the hill as fast as you can, but still a comfortable speed, then jog slowly on the downhill for recovery. For new hill repeats sessions start with 4-6 repeats, for more experienced runners you can do up to 10-12 repeats. Then finish with a slow 2-3K recovery run. While running uphill, make sure you follow a fast pace that doesn’t cause breathing issues or too much fatigue. Make sure you listen to your body, but also motivate yourself when doing some strides and hill repeats.
Run With a Friend
Another great way to get faster without trying so hard is to run with a friend. Running with other runners can help decrease our perception of effort, and activate our motivation, positivity and faster pace. Trying to follow a nice runner’s pace is a great alternative version of speedwork, without as much impact and stress, and it will help increase our running pace. Running with others can make us feel much better than running alone.
Speedwork can really help increase our speed, for runners who can push themselves to perform go ahead. For runners who feel unhappy, focus on some nice strides and hill repeats and longer distance runs.
RUN, RUN,RUN, BE HAPPY!