In my experience, speed training for shorter race distances requires a strategic set of “periods” when it comes to interval intensity and distances, e.g., training season begins with longer strength-building interval workouts and ends with faster, shorter interval speedwork. This particular workout is for developing that last bit of fast leg turnover before the start of racing season.
Frequency of the workout is once a week, with an easy day before and after the speed training. I recommend including this workout in your weekly training schedule for no more than six weeks prior to 5K – 10K race season.
An interesting and sometimes challenging aspect of this workout is the inclusion of walking. Some competitive runners feel uncomfortable walking “during” a workout, but the walk/recovery intervals are a very important part of this protocol.
Another important aspect of this workout is form. The speed intervals are going to be sprint build-ups, over the course of a 21 second interval, the runner gradually builds to a full sprint – it is not a full sprint from the start of the interval. Special attention is given to staying relaxed, increasing stride length, keeping the arms moving properly to propel the legs as speed builds. Sprint technique is important and if you have any specific techniques refer to a training running coach.
This workout requires some planning, the proper terrain, and a running watch with a countdown function. A running watch with a countdown function isn’t absolutely necessary, but it sure helps. I recommend performing this workout on a softer surface with even footing and enough room for a straight 110 – 130 yard distance. If you can find a golf course fairway early in the morning, you’re in great shape. I strongly discourage performing this workout on a paved or hard surface.
- Two mile warm up
- Three sets* of 10 x 21 second sprint build-ups with a 30-40 second walk recovery in between each build-up (this works best by finding a flat stretch and performing a 21 second sprint build-ups using the countdown watch function. After you finish a build-up, walk back to the starting point of the sprint build-up and repeat)
- Five minute walk in between each set of 10 sprint build-ups.
- One mile warm down after the final set
*First couple of times you do this workout, start with one or two sets, building up to three sets.
As always, I’d be happy to send you a copy of this workout in either Word or PDF format. E-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org