Many runners struggle with their pace and how to run faster. If you’re a newbie runner and aren’t sure how fast to run, don’t worry. Most experienced runners feel the same way, and many of them do not incorporate speed work into their training properly. Many of them end up injured, burned out or with no noticeable difference in their speed.
To avoid these common problems, here are the basics of how to incorporate speed work into you training for the best results.
First, work up to a running base of 30 minutes at an “easy” pace. What’s an “easy” pace? Well, an easy pace is when you can carry on a conversation with someone while running without gasping for air. You can speak in sentences, not just yes or no answers. You should not be able to sing comfortably for any extended period of time. If you can sing, you need to increase your pace a little.
Once you’ve reached 30 minutes at your easy pace, you should aim to run at that pace for most of your training runs. Running at an easy pace several times a week allows you to focus on good form, helps your muscles learn to burn fat more efficiently, and teaches your lungs to utilize oxygen easier. These easy runs are essential to building your endurance, and to maintaining your strength. Do not make the mistake of thinking these runs are not helping you become a better runner.
As you gain more fitness, you may feel the desire to increase your speed. If you do, add one faster run per week. As you improve you may add two faster runs per week, but don’t push it. It is essential that you not overdo faster runs, as you risk injury or burn out. Also, make sure not to do your faster runs on back-to-back days. Your body needs time to rest in order to get stronger.