Workout Wednesday: Progressive Speed Challenge

Happy Wednesday!

This week has seemed to fly by so far, but I’m sure things will start to slow down again as I try to get through my epic to-do list at work. Or maybe that will just make time go by more quickly? I don’t know.

I haven’t worked out the last two days for various reasons, so what better reason than Workout Wednesday to get back in the swing of things? I need to get a run in badly, so today I’m sharing the speed workout I’ll be doing.

It’s easy to think that running is just about that — running for a certain amount of time and distance and that’s it. But as simple as it is, there are a lot of different things we can do to help ourselves become better runners. Maybe you just run recreationally, and that’s fine, but if you’re training for a race or a certain time goal, there are different ways to shake up even your running workouts to help you build strength and speed.

Today I’m doing a speed progression — similar to a structured fartlek (“speed play”) workout — on the treadmill, but you can really do this workout anywhere. This workout intersperses speedier intervals with recovery periods, progressively getting faster while each interval gets shorter:

The purpose of this workout is to help build speed and get comfortable going faster for longer periods of time. It is also good for teaching the body to change gears, as you typically are changing speeds throughout a race based on conditions and what’s going on around you. I’m not a speedy runner, but I know from past experience that these kinds of workouts really do help shave seconds and minutes off my pace. I’ve also seen improvements in my endurance, something I’m definitely going to need over 13.1 miles in Chicago on Sept. 24.

Another advantage to speed workouts? Switching things up! It can be easy to get bored slogging through your miles at one pace, but constantly changing speeds gives you something else to think about and look forward to. 

The first time I did this workout, I was not in running shape, so my warm-up and cooldown were shorter at 0.5 mile and my intervals never got faster than a 9:05 pace. Now in the thick of training, I’m hoping to improve on both my speed and the distance I cover over the course of the workout. 

Do you have a good workout scheduled for today?
What’s your favorite speed workout?
Training for anything fun? I’d love to hear about it!