To Speed Training

Great Strides 2007 Shelly Florence-Glover  


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Speed training is quite simple. You run fast for segments that are much shorter than your race distance with recovery breaks to minimize the stress on your body. This is called interval training. This training gives your body and mind a gradual and safe transition into faster running. Run one or two speed workouts per week. Stay under control. Do not thrash yourself into the track or road or hill.Your best is good enough.

Speed work requires effort to produce results, but its fun to run fast. From the time we were children gleefully squealing running around the playground to now, running fast is fun. The satisfaction of a good speed session will leave you glowing and growing your confidence.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Before and after workouts run at about 10 minutes at conversational pace.

Pacing & Intervals

Try not to vary more than 5 seconds from interval to interval for short runs and 10-15 on longer runs.

Good intervals are run at an even pace throughout. Try to pace yourself properly, this is good practice for races. Do not hold back during the early laps and then blast through the last 100 yards. Blasting the finish can cause injury.


Do not sit down between intervals. Keep moving, walk or jog.

The day before and after a hard speed workout should be an easy day or a day off. Reward your body with adequate recovery time. Running early the next morning after an evening speed workout may find you sore, stiff, tired and prime for injury. ... not an enjoyable workout




Eating and Drinking

Eat a small snack about two hours before your workout and drink up to 16 ounces of water. Drink about four ounces five minutes before workout.


Use the Neck Line Rule. If the illness is above your neck -- a stuffy nose, scratchy throat and such, its probably okay to work out at a reduced effort. Do not attempt to run hard if you have a bad cough, fever or systemic infection. Running during an involved illness can damage health.


If you have an injury adjust or skip the workout. To avoid further strain, tell the coach if you have an injury BEFORE you start the workout.

If you feel sharp pain at any time stop and walk. Do not sit down. Keep moving and notify the coach. Chronic or nagging potential injuries need ice after a workout. Bring it !!

Use a a thermos, disposable gel pack or get ice at a deli.

When icing only leave the ice on until the area becomes numb then remove the cold stuff or you risk additional inflammation at the area, including frostbite.





Generally, for each mile of a race take one day off from hard running. However, please do run easy to moderate workouts.

Do not do a hard speed work any closer than three days before a major race.


Many people drop out on the way to getting fast and fit, or get in shape only to give up. Not every workout has to be perfect, just do the best you can do. Be patient. It's going to take a while to get into good shape. Lasting results mean a lasting commitment. Be persistent. Be consistent.


Running Coach Shelly Glover has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University. She co-authored The Runner's Handbook and The Competitive Runner’s Handbook, is a veteran road runner and marathoner. She also coaches The Greater New York Racing Team is available for private coaching. Coaching Services