Monday, January 29, 2018

Do Speed Workouts Scare You?

Do speed workouts intimidate you?  They did intimidate me for a long time, but now I never feel nervous or dread doing a speed workout.  There's no reason to have speed work stop you in your tracks.

Doing speed work is the best way to become a faster runner. You're never going to get faster if you don't practice running fast.  When you're first starting out, speed work seems a lot scarier and harder than it is. And even for some runners who have been running for a long time speed work still seems hard and a little scary to do.  So I wanted to share a few tips on speed work and making it not seem so intimidating.




First, know your speed workouts. There are a thousand different kinds of speed workouts out there.  Fartleks, intervals, ladders, sprints...You can find a few in THIS and THIS article from Runners World.

Start small.  If speed work is something you never do or that you're just starting on make sure you're choosing the right workout for you. It's ok to start with a shorter, easier workout and move into harder ones as you get more comfortable doing them. Once you realize you can do it will be easier for you to be ready to do speedwork the next time.

Remind yourself that the reason you do speedwork is to get faster. So if you have a PR goal, remembering that goal before and during a speed run will help you have the motivation to do it. And then remind yourself that you can do things that you didn't know you could do. So many times our brain gives up before our bodies will.

Just start the workout. Find a workout that you feel will work for you and plan it so that when you get going you don't have to spend too much time thinking about what kind of workout you're going to do.  Do your workout as soon as you can during your day, make getting ready easy by laying your clothes out beforehand, even have a special playlist together just for speed workouts. Make it as easy as possible to get moving without thinking and worrying about what you're getting ready to do.

Warm up. This has always been a big weakness of mine. But with speed work, you really want your muscles to be warm and loose so that you don't hurt yourself.  Walk a little, jumping jacks, even jogging before to get your legs ready to move fast. Then do a little bit of stretching.

Fuel right. This one is a little different for everybody.  I usually do my speed work in the mornings right after I wake up, so I don't eat anything before the run. I do make sure I'm well hydrated by taking a bottle of water with me to where ever I'm running.  If you're running later in the day, just make sure you're food is digested so that you won't make yourself sick.  Eat no sooner than an hour before your run (longer if your body tends to get cramps or nausea when working out on a full stomach).



Once you start doing speedwork, you'll see that it's not as hard or as bad as you thought it was. It will be easier for you to do every time it comes up on your training schedule.  Speed runs are nothing to be intimidated by, even if it sounds like a beast at first. You can do it. You're stronger than your brain lets you believe, and you'll be surprised, once you finish it, at what you've accomplished. I know I am every time I do some kind of speed run.


What is one workout that is intimidating to you?

How often do you get speedwork in?

8 comments:

  1. when i was running, i never added speed training to my routine. i always equated running longer distance with burning more calories or getting more exercise in even though i know its not true. I'll have to keep your tips in mind next time.

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    1. I used to never do speed workouts either. Now they are one of my favorite things to do! I hope these help when you start up again.

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  2. I love the idea of this! 6 weeks after this baby comes I’ll give it a try! Maybe longer... ha.

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    1. Awesome! Let me know how it goes. Have a great night.

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  3. Speed workouts DID scare me at first, but I eventually came to love sprints and intervals.

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    1. I’m so glad you love to do them now. They can be a killer workout but they are always worth it. Thanks for reading

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