Speed Training

With less than a week until the Santa Dash and only four weeks left to reach my Sub 30 5K goal, I thought that now would be a good time to start on some speed training. However, I’ve also got the Chichester 10K Road Race at the beginning of February and, since I’ve never run more than 5K without stopping, I’m going to have to work on the stamina too. This leaves me with the difficult dilemma of what to focus on – speed or distance?

In the end, I figured that there’s no reason why I can’t work on both. Every workout has its purpose and variety keeps things interesting, so I’m devising a training schedule to help prepare myself for the 10K and build my 5K speed at the same time.

While I’m fairly comfortable with the idea of building distance, I have been avoiding any form of speed training recently in case it aggravates my injury. However, as long as I don’t push it too hard, I reckon it should be ok to pick up the pace over some shorter distances.

So, this morning I had a go at some 400 metre intervals. The idea is to run fast for 400 metres, then walk to fully recover before doing the next one. The distance is pretty easy to measure if you have a track, but as I don’t have one nearby, I decided to use the seafront as usual and map out a nice flat 400 metre stretch to run back and forwards along.


I decided to use my RunKeeper app as you can set it to 1/4 mile intervals, which is just a bit over 400 metres, and prayed that the GPS would work properly. Otherwise, it would be a case of counting the beach huts!

2013-12-01_SplitsThe first 400 was a warm up jog, followed by a faster 400 to try to get a feel for the pace. This was much harder than I thought it would be. By about 300 metres, I could really feel it in my lungs and had to ease off a bit to make the distance.

I repeated the workout by walking 400 metres (back to where I started running) to get my breath back before setting off again. This worked pretty well and even though I was ready to quit at 300 metres into each running section, by the time I walked back I felt ready to have another go.

In the end, the app worked ok. The GPS readings on the first couple of intervals were a bit off (making me run through some beach huts) but the last two 400s were fairly accurate on the map. I managed to run these in 2:22 and 2:19, which I was very pleased with.

In terms of my training schedule, I plan to do one session of 400s every week for the next three weeks, increasing the workout by one repetition each time. I’m doubtful about whether I’ll reach my Sub 30 5K goal by the end of the year, but hopefully this training will help bring me closer to it.

And apart from anything else, it does make a nice looking graph!



2 thoughts on “Speed Training”

  1. Good luck with the goals, I would suggest 400m interval maybe slightly short for your goals. I would suggest you look to do a speed session which has periods of less recovery than running two options are pyramids or intervals starting at 15secs per km off your current 5k time this should feel like an 8 out of 10 on effort once it feels easier drop it by another 10-15secs. On pyramids do 4/3/2/1/2/3/4 min intervals with 60-90 secs walk rest periods. On standard intervals do 4 mins at the target pace then active recovery jog for the rest of the km and at each km marker repeat. Hope it helps any speed training even the 400m interval will help. Interested to see how you get on.

    1. Thanks for the tips, Ewen. I’m still doing loads of research into this as it’s all just one big experiment at the moment, but what you are suggesting sounds pretty good. I was planning on doing some run/jog intervals while building up my distance, so the idea of doing some of these at around the target pace might be worth a try. We’ll see how it goes… 🙂

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