Time for some speed! Speed workouts are important because they work different muscles than the long slow distance (LSD) runs.
Our 600 skeletal muscles are comprised of 3 different muscle fibers.
- Slow Twitch (Type I) = low power, high endurance, easy running
- Fast Twitch (Type IIA) = more power, low endurance, moderate intensity
- Fast Twitch (Type IIB) = more power, low endurance, maximum intensity(sprint)
Don’t think just because you are doing long distance running that you don’t need your slow twitch muscles! For maximum performance you will need both! When you begin your marathon, you use your slow twitch muscles and then fast twitch IIA are slowly incorporated. More and more muscle glycogen is depleted from the muscles, calling upon more and more fast twitch IIA. Towards the end of the race, team fast twitch IIB are called in.
So this means you need to train all types of muscles by including various types of workouts into your weekly routine.
By doing 2 of the following workouts a week, all types at least once a month you can build your fast twitch muscles. From moderate to maximum intensity:
- Standard tempo run
- Long intervals
- Hill repeats
- Speed Repetitions
*Run 1-2 easy miles as a warmup and cooldown
**Posts on each type of workout coming soon!!!!
Where did I get all this awesome information? From the really great article, Use Your Muscles to Run (Runner’s World)! If you don’t subscribe, you should most positively check out their website!
MY WORKOUT – SPEED REPETITIONS
To get my fast twitch muscles going, I hopped on the treadmill after my Strawberry Gu Chomps and did the following:
1 mile warmup @ 5 mph (12 pace)
4 repeats of
800 m @ 9 mph (6:40 pace)
600 m @ 9 mph
400 m @ 9 mph
.5 mile cooldown @ 6 mph (10 pace)
total mileage 8 mi
total time 68 minutes
…But Little Miss Runshine, it’s too hard!!!
Need some help getting started? I suggest running with a buddy! I wouldn’t have started doing these types of workouts if it weren’t for my ladies in my running club! It’s always more fun to do something new and difficult with a buddy! If you have no buddy, maybe try to use music. Switch a song when your body should be changing its pace.
Just think, when you hear the dinner bells, you can then activate the turbo!
How do you get yourself through your speed workouts?
I used to go to track workout with my running club ladies, but with it being icy and living farther from work now, I use the treadmill. Unfortunately if I went to track, I wouldn’t get home until maybe 11pm. Way too late for this old lady! While on the treadmill, I use the TV to help keep me entertained. I also write down what I do after each interval, so I think it keeps me focused with just not falling off the treadmill and makes time seem to go a little faster. Once it gets to be nicer out, I am going to hit the track!
What is your favorite speed workout?
One’s with my running ladies!!! I hope to return to Beantown by mid summer-ish!