Speed is a type of physical ability in which movement can be modulated to perform a given exercise more quickly. If you are already an experienced runner or have been training for a long time, you may be interested in doing a specific speed training that allows you to improve your marks.
When a runner starts, basic training will allow him to improve all his physical abilities, but there will come a time when he will stagnate. This moment determines when he needs a change in the way of training to work on specific physical abilities that allow him to perform more and improve his marks.
Another way to know when a runner should specifically start working on speed is by meeting 4 criteria determined by experts:
- Must have been running for at least a year.
- Must have completed a competition.
- Must have run a minimum of 25 km per week.
- Must be able to increase the intensity of your general training for at least 5-10 km.
If this is your case, surely you are at the ideal time to start speed training without increasing the risk of injury and with the assurance that it will help you improve your records.
Types of speed training
There are four main speed training techniques:
Training with unevenness
It is about including in the training course various slopes, either short and pronounced or long and softer. The ascent of the steepest and shortest slopes should be done at the highest possible speed, while the softest slopes should be done at a speed higher than that of the taxi, but without reaching the maximum intensity. Afterward, the descents will be used to recover.
In this way, the muscles that favor reaching a greater intensity and speed during competition are worked.
In this type of training, frequent changes of pace are made during the race. For example, alternating 2 minutes at a fast pace and 3 minutes at a slow pace. As you progress with this technique, you can increase your fast-paced time, always allowing at least 3 minutes of smooth walking between each set.
This is a good option for athletes who train on flat, smooth terrain, such as a running track. It consists of doing short series (between 100 and 400 meters) at maximum intensity, or sprint speed, alternating them with between 2 and 6 minutes of rest.
In this option, the athlete performs a continuous run of up to 10 kilometers maintaining an intense but controlled and stable pace. This type of training can be very useful for long-distance runners who want to improve their records, as it allows them to establish a fast running pace that they are relatively comfortable with.
Nutrition in speed training
The diet for athletes who want to improve speed should also be modified slightly since the objectives change: they need to increase muscle mass and strength while reducing, if possible, the percentage of body fat.
To do this, it is advisable to increase the protein intake of the diet through lean meats, fish, and eggs. A simple and safe way to obtain the proteins necessary for muscle development after speed training is through a specific supplement.
On the other hand, it is also advisable to increase the consumption of dairy products to improve the supply of calcium to our body, since otherwise, we may be more exposed to injury.
Other points to keep in mind
Finally, some tips:
- Before starting any workout, take the time to stretch and warm-up, including 5-10 minutes of light riding at the end.
- Always respect the recovery and rest guidelines. No more forcing your body will get better results, on the contrary: it will be easier for you to suffer an injury.
- Speed training should not exceed 15% of your weekly mileage, otherwise, you will be over-exerting yourself that can cause injury.
- The ideal time to work on speed is the central part of the training session when we reach maximum performance but the fatigue has not yet appeared.
- Do not forget to consult any training plan with a professional and, following these tips, you will reach your goal!