Let's Speed it UP!

6 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Hello, rockstars! Welcome to Inspiration to Fitness Track to 5k! I hope you are reading this feeling like a strong, vibrant, healthy athlete!

Last week we kept it simple and ran just over two miles. We’ve built a strong foundation by slowly increasing our mileage, running as much as possible and building up strength. Now we’re going to talk about speed training so you can add a little play to your run.

Speed training can seem intimidating when you're new to running or don't consider yourself a fast runner. And I'll be the first to admit that the speed work lingo can be a little boggling. Fartlek what?! But speed work is for anyone looking to improve their performance and become a better, stronger runner.

Approach speed training with caution. You should feel like you have a good running base before pushing hard with speed training. If you're not ready to experiment this week, keep the info handy for when you feel ready. You're more likely to get injured when demanding so much from your body, although proper speed training will make your body more efficient and reduce injuries overall.

Speed training should be done after a day of rest or light training. Remember to warm up with active stretching and a short walk or jog before speed training; you'll be asking a lot from your body!


A Basic Overview of Speed Training

1. Sprint Repetitions- Sprint repetitions are the most popular form of speed training. The sprints are usually performed in repetitions with light jogging or rest in between. During the sprint push with everything you have. Remember to never sacrifice proper form for speed.

2. Fartleks- Fartlek means "speed play" in Swedish. It is a highly aerobic, continuous interval training. Fartleks are popular because they are less structured than traditional interval training and can be done by athletes in any sport at any level.

During your run play with speed while constantly moving forward. In a fartlek the intensity/speed varies as desired. A single fartlek can range from workout to full sprinting.

3. High Knees- This form of speed training covers much less distance than sprints or fartleks. As you walk, bring your right knee up to waist level with your thigh parallel to the ground. Pump your arms as you pick up speed, Go 20 yards. Once that feels comfortable, turn into a skip. Check out this video for a clear visual.

4. Hills- Hill training promotes the development of lower leg and quad strength. Plus, conquering those hills strengthens your confidence! Work on explosive speed with short, fast runs up steep hills with rest in between.Work on quick leg turnover with fast runs down long hills.

5. Running Stairs- Running stairs isolates muscles similar to running hills. It's a great alternative to hill training if you lack access to safe hills.

When playing with running stairs, only go as far and fast as you're comfortable. Climb a few stairs and gradually increase your distance and speed. Engage all your muscles – not just the legs. Run on your toes. Increase speed as you progress.

6. Cadence Drills- Cadence drills are a more gentle form of speed training. Run 30 second fast intervals with a minute or so of jogging in between each interval. Count the foot steps of your first running interval and try to increase that number with each interval.

IT Band Stretch- Sit with both legs extended in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left, placing the sole of your right foot by the outside of your left thigh. Keep your butt glued to the ground, and twist toward your bent leg, keeping your spine long and straight. Hold and repeat with opposite leg.

Groin Stretch- Starting in a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together and toward your groin. Gradually lean forward and gently press your knees to the ground.


Run for 2.5 miles or 30 minutes. Remember your five minute warm up and five minute cool down. While you warm up, set an intention for your run. Think of why you are running and what you want to get out of this run. Reflect on how the run went as you cool down.


Mix in this core and back strengthening workout with one from the previous week. Remember to breathe and move quickly. You should be sweating by the time you finish!

Strength workout 7: two rounds of 12

Jumping Jacks- Yes, good ol' jumping jacks! Keep your head up.

Burpees- Begin in a standing position. Moving quickly, squat and set your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump or step back to a push-up position and roll your body down to the floor starting from your knees until your chest hits the floor. Push back up to a push-up position and step or jump your feet to meet your hands. Leap back to standing while simultaneously jumping in the air as high as possible and clap above your head. Repeat the exercise quickly to elevate your heart rate.

Reverse crunch- Lie on the floor and place hands behind your head. Lift legs and bend knees to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling. Draw knees in toward chest and hold for three seconds. Controlling your movement, slowly use your core to lower your legs to starting position. (right + left = one rep)

Superman- Lie facedown on the floor, legs together and straight, arms straight and extended above your head. Keep your head/neck in a neutral position. Keeping your arms and legs straight, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form a gentle curve with your body. Hold the position. Remember to breathe!

Plank- Facing downward, balance on your toes and forearms with palms flat on the floor. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Slightly tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to keep your butt in line with the rest of your body. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.

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