I feel the need…

the need for speed!
I have had several comments lately on my speed and if I had any suggestions on how to get faster.  So I thought I would make a post for yall…but keep in mind, I am not a coach (hopefully one day) but this is what worked for me.  I have done several different things over the past 3 years and they all seem to help.  The first two are specific training plans I followed.  The last three are just ways to add speed work to your running routine. 
Hal Higdon’s Plan
My first attempt at speed work was for 1/2 marathon #2 back in 2009.  I ran my first 1/2 in 1:59.  I had no idea what I was doing and wasn’t even sure I would get faster.  So, I simply followed Hal Higdon’s intermediate training plan.  Looking back, I am pretty sure I hardly knew what a tempo run was and how to do the speed work but a my girlfriend Jessica and I managed to do and pulled out a 1:49 finish.  I recommend his plan if you are just starting out or if you want an easier speed work plan to follow.

This past year I really focused more on my speed again and wanted to step my game up a bit.  I had heard great things about the RLRF program.  I had no idea how intense the training would be–it is very structured but it worked.  I PR’d this fall in the marathon and 1/2 marathon though while following the program.  I recommend it if you want an intense plan and have plenty of time to do it.

Swedish for “speed play.” And that is exactly what it is- a way to play and have a bit more fun while trying to get faster.  I do these every so often when I am not in the mood for structure.  An example would be to pick an object-a sign, tree, telephone pole, etc.  and “race” towards it.  Slow it down towards another object and keep repeating.  Hope that makes sense.

Yasso 800s 
I use these often as well-and they are included in a ton of plans.  I feel like these are the most common form of speed work.  I push my effort for a 1/2 a mile and then recover for around 400.  If 800s sound intimidating start with 400s instead.  They are an easy way to work up to an 800.  Start small and build up.  You can read more about them here.

Hella Sound
One of my fav’s and I need to do it more often.  You can purchase music that guides you with your own “speed coach.”  A coach comes over the music and tells you when to speed it up and slow it down.  They have several different options.  I did a review on it last year.

If you want to follow a specific plan and you like a structure try one of the top two training plans.  If you want to just add speed work into your current weekly runs try one of the bottom three (or all of them on different weeks).

I have personally found that structure helps me.  I try and run 3-4 days a week.  I try and make each run specific:  A speed day, a tempo day, and a long run day.  My long run is usually at 60-70% effort.  I am currently on a more “fun” plan with some speed work but most of my runs have been at less of an effort than normal and I am enjoying running with other people-not just focusing on speed and time. 

I hope some of you have found this helpful and I answered some of your questions.  Again, this is what worked for me-each person is different.

 Do you do speed work?  If so, what is your favorite? 

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