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Speed Training for Beginners Part 3 – Sample Workouts
In part 3 of our series on speed training for beginners, I give sample workouts for each type of speed training mentioned in part 2. For each type I give a beginner, intermediate and advanced workout.

Hills

Hill workouts

Beginner

Repeat 4 to 6 times:

  • Run hard uphill for 30 seconds trying to get as far as you can.
  • Walk back down to the starting point.

Intermediate

Repeat 6 times:

  • Run hard uphill for 1 minute trying to get as far as you can.
  • Jog slowly back down to the starting point.

Jog/walk for 3 minutes

Repeat 4 times:

  • Run hard uphill for 30 seconds trying to get as far as you can.
  • Walk back down to the starting point.

Advanced

Repeat 10 times:

  • Run hard uphill for 1 minute trying to get as far as you can.
  • Jog slowly back down to the starting point.

Fartlek

Fartlek

Beginner

Lampposts: For this session you can make use of street lampposts, trees, bins or any other evenly spaced landmarks that are 50 to 200 m apart. In the example I will use lampposts.

Start the first time by running fast for 1 lamppost, jogging easy for 2 lampposts. Repeat for 10 to 20 minutes. As you progress you can move up to running fast for 2 lampposts, jogging easy for 1 lamppost.

Play with the length of the fast/easy sections as well as the total length of the session as you get fitter.

Intermediate

Classic 1 minute fartlek: This is a staple among almost every training group.

Alternate running fast for 1 minute with running easy for 1 minute. Start with 6 repetitions and build up to 10 repetitions.

Advanced

Pyramid fartlek: This pyramid I also refer to as death by fartlek as it is a real toughie!

Do 1 min/2 min/3 min/4 min/5 min/5 min/4 min/3 min/2 min/1 min fast (85 to 90% effort).

Jog half the time in between. i.e. After the 1 min jog 30 sec, after the 2 min jog 1 min etc.

Intervals

Intervals

Beginner

Repeat 8 to 10 times:
200 m at a fast but controlled pace (about the effort you would be able to sustain for a fast 1 mile) followed by 200 m easing jog/walk

Intermediate

Repeat 8 to 10 times:

400 m at a fast controlled pace (about the effort you would be able to sustain for a fast 3 km) followed by 2 minutes jog/walk

Advanced

Repeat 6 to 8 times:

1 kilometer at around 10 km goal pace followed by a 90 second jog/walk.

The goal is to maintain an even pace throughout the session.

Tempo Runs

Tempo

Beginner

This is a really fun challenge. Run on an out and back route. Run out easy for 20 minutes. Turn and return back to the starting point as much under 20 minutes as you can.

Build the pace steadily on the way back! Try not to look at your watch. Run free! This is a great way for you to learn what effort you can sustain for a long period.

You don’t have to stick to exactly 20 minutes, you can vary the length depending on fitness levels, route options and how much you want to challenge yourself.

Intermediate

Start out jogging easily and gradually build to a steady pace (around half marathon effort) over 10 to 15 minutes.

Now maintain the pace for another 30 minutes.

Finish off with 5 to 10 minutes of easy jogging.

Advanced

Start out jogging easily and gradually build to a steady pace over 4 km.

Now run at your goal half marathon or marathon pace (depending on what you are training for) for 12 km (for a marathon you can go up to 18 to 20 km).

Finish off with 2 to 4 km easy jogging.

Let me know how you get on. If you would rather take the guess work out and have an expert coach guide you through your speed training, then check out the Trainsmart Virtual Coaching Package .


Onwards and upwards!


Coach Kathleen

Professional running coach

Cape Town, South Africa