Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

I feel the need, the need for SPEED!

on May 13, 2014

As is the case for many of you, this summer I’m focusing on speed work. I’m back to parkrun every week and I’ve got a good few 10ks lined up.

To be honest it has petrified me. Yes, I can run a marathon, the miles don’t scare me any more. I don’t know if that sounds big headed or crazy or what! But I trained so long and did so many long long LONG runs at the weekends, plodding along, I know I can do it.

This speed thing is something else. Pushing my lungs and legs to the absolute limits. Sprints, hills, sprints, hills, the metallic taste in my mouth and lungs bursting from my chest! The inevitable ‘breathing like I’ve been underwater for three minutes’ gasps as I slump to the floor just a couple of steps from the finish line. And who knew you could sweat so much in such a short distance?!! Oh the glamour!

Saying that, the training is paying off. In the last month I’ve smashed my parkrun 5k PB three times, and my 10k PB too. And here’s what I put it down to;

Speed – sounds obvious, but to run fast you need to train fast! Not just trying to up your pace on your normal route by a few seconds, but by adding intervals and fartlek type runs into your training. Getting in some sections with real bursts of maximum effort speed. Training your body to feel the way it’s inevitably going to feel gasping for air a few kms in. An example might be to do 400m reps with adequate recover. Start at 4 or 5 and build it up weekly until you’re doing maybe 8 or 10. Using lamp posts to sprint one, jog one, is a popular one.

Hills – they are a great way to build up your endurance, strength, form and power. They flippin’ hurt but the sense of achievement is incredible. And you’ll see yourself progressing week on week. Either by doing more reps, or getting a bit further each time. Again you can start at 4 or 5 reps running 30-45 secs up a hill then jogging back down (don’t choose anything that resembles Ben Nevis ideally!) and up the reps over the week.

Challenges – whether it’s events, parkrun, time trials, personal goals or racing others. Whatever gets you going! For me, it has been trying to catch up with the fast ones at parkrun and training with the top club runners to attempt to narrow the gap between me and them when getting to the top of the hill.

Rest – all of this fast work is gonna hurt! Make sure you take time to rest your legs, take recovery runs and such like. Eat the right things to aid muscle recovery too. As with any running, the rest is just as important as the training.

Stretch – get a good stretching routine in place as those hills and such like are going to work your legs, glutes and various other bits in ways you might not be used to. So get into the habit of stretching everything out after the run, just so that you can walk the next day without muttering “ooh” every other step!

Strength – you know I love a bit of strength training, and I’m SO glad that I started this months ago as the investment in my glutes is paying off big time! Rather than dragging myself up these hills, my glutes are pushing me….much easier! Not easy, but easier. Here’s the link to my core and glutes training that I hope might help.

I’m off to run the Westminster Mile tomorrow. I’ve never run a single timed mile before so this is going to be an amazing start to a new challenge for me. Then on Sunday it’s the big one, the Bupa London 10,000. Let’s see if all of this training has lined me up for another PB.

We have a parkrun PB ‘medal’ a can of Rio….so here’s to many more Rio’s this summer, a ton of medals and maybe even a time or two to beat the ‘fast ones’ I’m chasing down.


I don’t know if it’ll ever feel any easier, but a change is as good as a rest, right?!!


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