Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Want To Get Faster!

If you're a competitive runner, you've said it, you've wondered it and you've researched it.  How to get faster is a question most marathoners and triathletes have when they are considering their next big time consuming event.

I've asked myself the same question and have learned from experience that the Run Less Run Faster method has worked for me.  The basis for this school of thought is that you run harder for less days a week.    

Another blog, Marathon Nation has suggested the following guidelines for speed performance:

  1. Benchmark Your Fitness…Schedule a 5k time trial run on a local, flat course. Do your best and use the resultant time and pace per mile to shape the rest of your training. Even if you don’t get that granular with the data, regular testing every 4 to 6 weeks will give a good indication if your fitness is improving!
  2. Weekly Intensity…Don’t be afraid of intensity, especially in smaller doses.  A great example is 4 to 6 repeats of 3 minutes each at 5k pace, with 2 minutes of recovery. By the end of your workout you’ll have almost racked up a 5k of solid work without too much fatigue. Here’s another post on speed work.
  3. Smart Long Runs…Make those long slow runs a thing of your past by cutting the volume by 2/3 and adding intensity to the run. A 15 mile long slow run can quickly become a 10 to 12 mile effort as 4 miles easy, 6 miles at marathon pace, 2 miles at half marathon pace (or as fast as you are able). By the time you are done, you’ll have done more “work” than the standard easy run and you’ll be done faster! Save those uber long runs for a race simulation or for your final training peak.
  4. Improved Recovery…More more work means more rest, period. Don’t fall victim to thinking your new fast-self is immune…running harder is actually harder on our bodies. From self massage to weekly stretching to two days off a week to post-run ice baths and recovery shakes, how you absorb the work is just as (if not more!) important than the work itself.
Five Time Ironman Winner Mark Allen also advocates strength training to maintain fitness and speed, especially after the age of 35.  Allen attributes time in the gym as the most anti-aging component of his training.  

Time to get faster now, isn't it?

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