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Tip: Don't Call It Speed Work - NikeRunning.com

Published by
NikeTF.com - Nike High School Track and Field   on Jul 3 2012, 04:41 PM

Don't Call It Speed Work  


Think you know speed? One of the most common phrases used in running training is speed work. For serious runners, “speed” means going all out. But often when people say they’re doing speed work on the track, they’re doing something else.


Most runners use the term speed work for any interval workout that they do on the track, but this is inaccurate. There are many different paces you can run, for different purposes. Only running one “fast” pace means not taking advantage of all the different kinds of pace work that are available to you, including strides and race pace work as well as true speed work.


When you say “speed,” you should be thinking of the fastest pace you can run—even if that’s only for 30m or 40m. We’re talking all out, finish line sprint.


Your strides, on the other hand, should be slower than speed work, but still pretty fast. For adults, they should be faster than your 5K race pace. For high school athletes, make your strides the pace of the distance below your primary race distance. For example, if you’re a 1,600m runner, do strides at your 800m pace. For both adults and high school runners, the strides can be between 100m and 200m, but any longer than that and it becomes a repetition in an interval workout, which brings us to the next category.


Race pace work is a great way to think about 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon workouts. You could do 5 x 1,000m at 5K goal pace, or you could do repeat miles at 10K pace.


Both strides and race pace workouts would likely be conducted on the track, so there is a temptation to call them speed work. But the key here is to understand how these workouts fit with your training plan and race goals, and to learn to find a speed you can maintain over a designated distance.



*Coach Jay's advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Interested in Coach Jay's General Strength Videos and other training tips? Check out the Nike Running facebook notes section.

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And don't forget, if you have a training question for Coach Jay, email him here:coachjay@nike.com.

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