If you spend 5-10 weeks developing your strength and strength endurance, but never transition any of this to race day fitness, then you most assuredly will leave lots of speed on the table. Speed is an optional but highly recommended phase you go through before entering the speed endurance phase. How much time you spend developing speed before transitioning into speed endurance will depend on your background as an athlete. Those who come to me with years of Ironman racing experience can benefit greatly from a focused block of speed training.
Let’s talk a little about speed. The speed we are after is speed in relation to the endurance athlete. Distances can vary from 200 meters up to 1200 meters for running and 1 to 7 minutes for cycling. The intensity is max repeatable effort with lots of rest. Rushing the rest interval can limit how fast you run each repeat. These repeats are run at Z6 and even beyond. These workouts focus on allowing your body to run and ride as fast as you can. The goal of these session is to raise your upper limit of speed. Most athletes benefit greatly from 4-5 weeks of speed. Extending too much beyond this and your risk for injury goes up.
Run Speed Workout
20 minute warm up
8 x 400 with 1:2 work to rest ratio. If it takes you 1:20 to run your 400, then you are resting for 2:40. Rest can be easy walking with a few drills mixed in.
Easy 10 minute cool down
Factors to Consider
If you are nursing any sort of injury, speed workouts are not recommended. Get healthy first.
If form is compromised, then shorten the interval so you can complete it with good form and mechanics.
Speed workouts should be completed at a time when total training volume is not increasing.
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