Home Blog Topics Favorite Things Four tips to a better speed workout.

Four tips to a better speed workout.



If you want to run faster then you need to RUN, FASTER!

Sounds silly, but it’s just that simple. If you want to run a marathon, then you need to complete several long training runs, right? Well, the same goes for enhancing your speed. In order to run faster consider devoting one workout a week to speed work. During this shorter mileage workout you will incorporate high-intensity intervals of cardio exercise into your regime as you push your body to run at a much faster pace than that of  your long run.



The track at Faxon Field, Quincy.


1. Have a plan (and stick to it!) Go to the track with a specific workout that you want to complete. Otherwise you may end up running only a couple of laps and calling it a day. Make the most of your work out and show up with a plan!

Sample track workouts:

Easier: 8 x 400  (or 12 x 400,

Challenging:  4 x 800; 6 x 400

Difficult:  3 x mile; 3 x 800


2.  Break it down to make it manageable! It is easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of having to run around the track 16 or 20 times, so STOP RIGHT THERE! Look at your workouts in smaller segments (i.e. 3 one mile repeats, instead of 12 laps). I think to myself, “You just have to run four laps. Four laps then you get a break.”


One lap at a time!

3.  Stay present. Speed work requires a high level of focus over a relatively short duration of time. Focus solely on the lap your are running (not ones that will follow), your breathing, and your form! When running I think to myself (on repeat), “Lap 1. Keep pace up. Lap 1. Breathe. Lap 1 done… Lap 2.”



Like a toddler learning to walk, focus on simply moving forward on the track!


4. Setting a target goal pace for each interval will give you extra reason to push yourself during each laborious lap! Not sure what your goal pace should be, check out the chart below from Your26.2, the fellas who created my training plan! While I find these suggested target paces fairly challenging, I consistently say to myself, “You have to have goals!!”

Fullscreen capture 10282013 25106 PM

If you run a 5k at an 8 minute pace, your 400 (1/4 mi) target pace would be a 7:20 pace. Then, run for 1.5 min at a much slower pace to recover between 400s.



Last Thursday I headed on over to the track at Faxon Field to squeeze in my final track workout before the marathon. The training plan called for a pretty basic, albeit challenging, workout: 3 mile repeats. This essentially means that I had to run a “timed mile” three times with a half mile recovery jog in-between.


The workout

Warm up (1 mile)

1 mile at 5k pace time (or 10 faster)

(Results: 6:43, 6:37, 6:37) 

800 m (2 laps) at recovery pace

(Ran at about 8:30 pace)

[Repeat 2 more times]

Cool down (1 mile)


*I am super excited to report that the 6:37 mile repeats were my fastest miles thus far in training (previous time of 6:41). A small success over several months of training, but I’ll take it!

Happy Running,

The Lone Runner


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