Let’s get our SPEED ON!

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*****DON’T FORGET to gradually introduce speedwork into your running!  We get injured when we go too fast or for too long when we aren’t ready for it yet.   And remember to save your racing legs for race day… don’t go 100% all out during your speed workouts!  

10 Speed Workouts To Try:

-3 x 2 miles fast.  This one is my favorite to do with running friends (we did it here).  Warm-up, 3 x 2 miles fast (with .5 mile recovery after each set), cool-down.  The speed we hit for these is usually a little bit faster than 1/2 marathon pace and close to 10k pace.  You can also try 2 x 3 miles too:)

-Did this one time with Josse and it was killer at the track—>  warm-up, 1 lap recovery after each interval—> 5 laps, 4 laps, 3 laps, 2 laps, 1 lap, cool-down.  Stuck to around fast mile pace for each interval.  

-Fartleks (speed play) however the heck you want!  Speed up during the chorus of a song, 1 minute fast with 1 minute recovery on repeat, speed up until the next stop sign and then recover and run fast to the next mailbox, go fast for one block and then recover one block… you choose but just get those legs moving!

-1 mile repeats from Hansons:

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-My coach had me do this one a bunch when I was focusing on 1/2 marathons:  1 mile warm-up, 400m, 400m, 800m, 800m, 400m, 400m (with 2 minute recoveries after each one) and 1 mile cool-down.  Detailed post HERE!  

-My favorite 3-2-1 workout.  Warm-up, 3 miles fast, .4 mile recovery jog, 2 miles faster, .4 mile recovery jog, 1 mile FASTEST, cool-down.  Fast= marathon pace, faster=10k-1/2 marathon pace, fastest= 5k pace.

– Marathon Runners—>  YASSO 800s!!! Warm-up, 800m intervals with a jog equal to the same amount of time it took you to run the 800 meters, cool-down.  They advise to start out with 4 800s and then to increase each week by 1 until you reach 10.  More info HERE!

-Try something similar to the YASSOS—>  ‘8 x 400m: run the first 200m of each rep at your mile pace, and then accelerate for the final 200m.  Your recovery jogs should be 400m.’ (source)

-‘At a track, warm up, then run eight laps, alternating fast and slow 200s.  The fast 200s should be hard, but not a full sprint- Each week add an extra lap until you run 12 fast/slow 200s.’  (source)  I’m excited to try this one!  

-Hill work is speedwork in disguise so combining hills and sprints=awesome (although, make sure to SLOWLY increase your hills/speed to avoid injury and allow your body to adjust to the workload).  A great one that I used to do… adjust your paces to your needs:  

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10 Speedwork Benefits (quotes from the Hanson’s Half Marathon Method):

-EVERY runner benefits from speedwork.  It doesn’t matter what your pace is or what your goals are.  Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone will help you to improve your running!

-DEVELOP MUSCLE FIBER—>  “Not only the slow-twitch fibers but also the intermediate fibers become maximally activated to provide aerobic energy.  This forces the slow-twitch fibers to maximize their aerobic capacities, but it also trains the intermediate fibers to step in when the slow-twitch fibers become fatigued.”  

–  The above benefit then creates better muscle coordination which improves our running economy (aka our body becomes more efficient at running.. how much oxygen is required to run a certain pace, the less oxygen used the better).

-You invest A LOT into your Mental Running Bank Account with each speed workout that you do.  Come race day you get to make that withdrawal and feel the confidence from finishing those hard speed workouts and knowledge that you can finish even if you want to quit with every fiber of your being.

-More myoglobin is produced when we do speedwork.  “Myoglobin helps transport oxygen to the muscles and then to the mitochondria.  With its help, the increased demand for oxygen is met to match capillary delivery and the needs of the mitochondria.”

-Speedwork teaches our muscles to be more efficient storing glycogen which is quite helpful especially during distance running.  “Because speed sessions include high-intensity running near 100 percent VO2 max, glycogen stores provide upwards of 90 percent of energy, thus rapidly depleting them.”


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-‘Due to the intensity of speed work, the body becomes more efficient at shuttling these byproducts out of the working muscles.  Speed work therefore increases your lactate turn point, which is the point at which lactic acid build-up exceeds removal.  Presumably if an athlete has a higher lactate turn-point, they can continue at a higher intensity of effort with a longer time until exhaustion.’ (source)

-It will help you to avoid boredom and keep your body/brain guessing what’s next:)  

-And of course because of all of these things you will get faster:)  Feel like you are plateauing in your running…  I can pretty much bet you money that you will see some BIG changes in your running/times when you start to incorporate speed each week!


10 Ways to Motivate yourself to get your speed on:

-I think—>  “DO THE WORK NOW so that it hurts a little bit less on race day.”

-I trick my brain—>  Sometimes when I am not motivated at all I just tell myself on the way to the workout that I’m just going to do the warm-up and then go back home;) Once I do the warm-up I tell myself I’ll just do one repeat and then finish… I keep adding on and before I know it= I finished the workout.  

-My highest amount of endorphins come after a hard speed workout.  Think about that post-run feeling of accomplishment because doing work just makes us feel really good.  

-Just start.  Don’t procrastinate it.  My SPEEDY friend Rachelle taught me this one because she just gets in and goes for it without thinking about it, stopping to chat, taking a longer warm-up, dreading it.  I loved it.  She taught me to just get in and go and then I can talk, stretch, cool-down for as long as I want afterwards.  

-Sometimes the numbers of speed workouts demotivate me and so I go 100% off of effort levels and I don’t look at my watch.  

-Goals. Goals. Goals. Goals.  If you have some running goals that you want, they are most definitely not going to just fall into your lap.  Go do the work for them.  

-GO WITH A FRIEND!!! Even just having a friend there doing a completely different workout than I am doing helps.  It motivates me to get out there and to go and chase after them:)

-Sign up for a race.  That always gets me into the speed work groove again.

-Dig deep.  You’ve got it in you.  Don’t doubt your potential and get excited to see what you are made of.  

-As you drive to the track listen to ’Till I Collapse by Eminem, “find that inner strength, get that motivation to not give up and not be a quitter.”

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Of course I have to share some things from our night!

-PJs at 5 pm.  Brooke opened up the fridge and told me she wanted a snack as tall as her toes to her fingers.  

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Megan set me up with some TRX Mountain Climbers which are officially 400 times harder than the normal ones for me.  

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-We can’t agree with this sign.  Tuesday morning when Brooke and I walked out the door Brooke started crying because she thought it was going to be summer when we went outside… I’m right there with ya Brooke.

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-LOVED this card from Kaoru!  Goodbye 20s…

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-Brooks February socks.  I’ll be wearing the beauties on the left today.  

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-Brooke and I got to catch up with our amazing friend Brooke.  She is a huge inspiration for me, she is a cancer survivor and has had the most amazing attitude about everything during the toughest of times.   She puts every person that she comes in contact with in the best mood.  

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-Hot chocolate in my Donut Ever Let Me Go mug while we chat.  

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How do you motivate yourself to do speed work?

Have a favorite speed workout??  Would love it if you would share it with us in the comments!

How’s the weather where you are?  How’s it working out with your running?

If you could have any snack on the planet right now… what would it be?

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Love all those speed workouts you shared! Yesterday I actually did that ladder workout that you discussed..it’s seriously SO tough and my body is really sore today! My favorite speed workout lately is Lauren Fleshman’s Freddy Kruger- 1600 at 10k pace, then 4×200. Repeat both of those one or two times. I love the mixture of long speeds mixed with those sprints. Always gets me!


I’m really the worst with motivating for speed work! My mind just rebels. Even when I was running pretty high mileage and faster than I am now, I’d almost always choose hills over speed for a workout.


All of those workouts and motivations are great! I love your thought of “do the work now” so that it hurts a little bit less on race day. I don’t know where I would be without speed work! I think it’s everything. I do Thursday night track workouts with our local Fleet Feet and we are about to start a racing team so I think it’s going to get even more intense! I love mile repeats and 1k’s and any type of ladder!

If I could snack on anything it would probably be cannolis in Italy :)


We just got about 6-8″ of really heavy snow. It’s really pretty, but it’ll be a muddy mess very soon!

I don’t do speed work very often, so I usually am excited for it. It’s always a challenge for me and I like to see what I am capable of. Speed work does that for me like no other workout can. I love it!

I’ve been craving raspberry fig bars lately. No idea why but they sound good all day, everyday! Yum!


It’s warm here. Going up to 50. But snow in forecast for tomorrow.what is speed work? Lol. Haven’t done any since 2014. Sigh!


I love that running bank analogy! I need to write that down in my training journal as a good reminder!

That birthday card is GREAT! I can’t believe I have to say goodbye to my 20s this year too. Time sure does fly… I still feel 15 some days ;)


I had a speed workout once that was fast repeat miles with “recovery” 800s, but the pace for the 800s had to be 3:30, so they weren’t exactly jogs. It was TOUGH. I also really enjoy pyramid or ladder workouts.

If I could have any snack, I would choose Wheat Thins. Always.


I love repeats! 400/800 are my fav!! They make me feel strong and push me to a level of hurt that feels so good!
Brooke is just too cute! I want summer too..we have ice here right now. :(


I love hearing about the scientific logic behind why we should do specific types of workouts. I find that motivates me more than anything, because I can think about exactly what I’m improving while I’m doing it!


I agree: Speed work is so much easier with a friend! I meet up with my local running club for a weekly tempo run, and it WORKS!


I kind of like speed work. I did track in high school and college, so doing speed work always reminds me of my time on track teams. :)

I kind of like ladders, though I haven’t been doing them recently. I’m hoping to race for a 5k PR this spring, and I think I’m going to try a 5 x 1k workout a time or two beforehand. Not creative, but hopefully effective!


Thanks so much for the speedwork ideas! I (GASP!) actually really like speedwork, but sometimes I get bored and need help coming up w/new ideas. I can’t wait to try some of these!

Today the weather here is SO WARM! It was almost 60 already when I left the house this morning, which is crazy for February. Unfortunately, more snow is expected next week :(.


Great speed workouts ands tips to stay motivated! There are SO many benefits to doing it consistently which I remind myself of when I’m feeling less than motivated to do it. I love fartleks and 800s!
It is cold here!!! Treadmill running for me but I’m happy to be running at all!
Homemade caramel corn would be my snack. Yum


I love the cutdown run from marathon pace to 5K pace! Fartleks are my favorite type of speed work, although I do love mile repeats for sharpening before a race. The weather in Seattle has been so mild! It barely feels like winter!


I used to hate speed but now I don’t mind it. I like to do fartleks because it’s easy for me to do without a timer.


I see you’re using the TRX for mountain climbers! I used TRX once when I did an Orange Theory class and I loved it! But I’m too intimidated/not sure how to use it well to try using it at the gym I go to– you should do a post on different TRX workouts!! :) have a great Thursday!


Do you run in your Brooks socks or just wear them out and about?


I love/hate speed work but I know it’s needed! My favorites are 400s, 800s and fartleks. I’ve been doing most of my speed work on the treadmill for the past few months.


How do you motivate yourself to do speed work?
PR’s! I have my my 5 year plan to run Boston so I have to get my pace up!!

I love speedwork! I feel like I see results right away! 800’s are the only speed training I did last summer, thanks for sharing yours, I can’t wait to try them!

Here in Wisconsin, our winter has been mild! This time of year our temps are in the 10’s or lower but so far mid to high 30’s! Short weather! ;)

I am eating a banana right now and would kill for some almond butter to put on it!


Just found your recipe for the smores bars! I am going to make them for the office at my internship as an early birthday celebration for me!!!! Hope they turn out!


It’s 60 degrees here in Boston!!!!!!!! I ran in shorts this morning! And I was TOO hot in my long sleeves! It’s amazing. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to rub it in, but compared to last winter, this is the very best thing for Bostonians.

Of course it’s supposed to snow tomorrow morning, but we’re not thinking about it right now :)


Great post Jamae. I completely agree that it’s important to introduce speed work gradually or you will definitely end up injured. I know all about that.


i LOVE speed workouts! The feeling of accomplishment after them is the best! I especially love workouts with intervals that decrease in distance the longer the workout is (ex: 5 laps, 4 laps, 3 laps..). They are super motivating to me because as youre getting more tired you have less to run!


These speed workouts look awesome! I definitely want to try to mile repeats sometime soon. I’m in the middle of training for my first marathon with my second half marathon coming up in a few weeks and think speed work has been so important in my own training. Thanks for sharing and have a fabulous day!


The weather is in the 30s right now, but should get up to the 50s today. I just got home from weather in the 80s in Florida for the past 5 days so I am not happy about the cold!


I love speed work!!! I was a 400/800 runner back in HS a million years ago and my favorite memories were fast track workouts. My favorite speed workout now are half mile repeats for a total of four to six miles. So I guess that’s like the Yasso 800’s! I love feeling like I’m flying!


It’s 50’s/60’s in Phoenix this week. It’s been crazy cold! Next week it’s supposed to be in the 80’s. The weather has been crazy this winter. I have to workout just to stay warm!


We are finally getting out from under our last snow storm here in NJ. Happy that the roads are finally getting clear again!


400/800s are my favorite speed workouts right now and they’re good to do on a treadmill which is my new best friend since they’re still snow everywhere. also, this blog post was just what I needed! I am looking to incorporate different styles of speed workouts into my routine and now I’ve got like a million to try. thanks so much :)


YOU! That ‘s how i get motivated for my track work outs – which isn’t a secret I don’t like! Reading your posts and taking your advices makes me extra motivated!! As for work outs fartlek does it for my since i get bored easily and I welcome the change :)
Weather in London has been amazing lately! Not too cold and not too rainy – am I really in London???


i motivate myself to do speedwork with the simple thought of “i want to get faster”. im tired of running half marathons in almost 3 hours i want to be part of the sub 2 hours club!


I really enjoy half mile repeats. Just enough to get my heart rate up and feel REALLY accomplished on pace!

We’ve been having a lot of rainy days, but I like running in the rain. It’s also been warmer (hallelujah!)!

Pineapple and peanut butter (not together) – but they’ve featured prominently in my snacks lately.


Hi Janae! Quick question for you, do you listen to music during speed workouts, or do you try to focus all of your attention on the run itself? I find that music is a good way to distract myself on harder runs, but that tends to take me out of my maximum pace. I know for some people it can motivate them to step up the pace as well, so I really just wanted to hear your take. :)

If I could have any snack in the world right now, it would be a warm crepe with fudge and banana. Mmmmm.


I’m so glad you appreciated the card as much as I did haha!


Awesome motivation! Thanks for that pick me up!

We had speed work today (tempo) that I will share more about tomorrow on our blog. For now, we are headed back to join you in winter. Hopefully, no more big snows in KY!


I’ve created a bunch of fun speed workouts for myself and have shared them on the blog too. I like making the miles fun and engaging which really helps me with the speed work! I’m ready for summer too! I heard snow for tomorrow and next week, ugh!


I could totally go for some nachos right now……


These are such great workouts! I love the 1 mile repeats chart from the Hanson’s Method. Wanting to feel strong during a race keeps me motivated to do speed work each week. The weather has been cold for St. George, but next week it’s supposed to be sunny and 65! Hello spring!


I’ve been intending to do more speedwork ever since restarting running post-marathon, but my feet and knees have been throwing problems at me left and right. Nothing that’s prevented me from running, but I’m definitely not in shape to work on speed quite yet.

Here in Florida, the weather has been perfect for running here lately – somewhere in the 40s, 50s, or 60s every morning. This morning I was able to get in 14 miles for a long BIRTHDAY run right before it started pouring rain! :)


I motivate myself for speedwork by mentally making it my most important runs of the week. I favour your idea of just GOING and I try a new, yummy recovery smoothie after each workout so I can think about trying it at the end.


I love Brooke’s Christmas pjs!


I usually do my speedwork with my teammates…when I can’t do it with them and am by myself, I just make myself remember how much faster I am because of doing speedwork with them!

The weather is crap here (Ontario, Canada)! We had a ton of freezing rain yesterday so it’s a gross mess outside right now!! Buuuut, I was in Phoenix all weekend (for a field hockey tournament and a half marathon!) and it was in the low 70s so I’m just trying to remember that feeling of the warm sun… :)


Your post is excellent timing. I have been reading about speed work and haven’t mentally been able to take the plunge, although it has been on my mind a TON lately. Thanks for sharing the workouts. I plan to attempt a speedwork soon!

I love the Brooks socks you get each month! Are they available in stores somewhere- I have never seen festive socks like that in the running store I go to.

And Hugs are horrible. Dark kisses are the best.


I love all the speed work options here. I always end up going with intervals of 1 minute fast, 1 minute recovery, 2 min fast, 1 recovery up to 5 and then back down. It is simple but effective.

I would love an entire sleeve of double stuffed oreos right this minute!


I have a new found love for speed work after thinking ‘this is getting easier…no, I’m getting stronger!” yesterday during my last Yasso repeat!


I like incorporating faster shorter runs and random fartlek intervals. But my approach to speed work is pretty inconsistent – never really found my groove with it. I’ve never actually trained at a track (not even sure I have one nearby) but I’ve always wanted too because it just looks cool and speedy!

Weather in Melbourne Aus right now is perfect summer temperatures. Blue sunny skies! My snack of choice right now is bananas with peanut butter. I also had carrot sticks with hommus yesterday to mix it up from the sweet stuff.


Those socks are so cute and perfect for February! I haven’t been doing speed work much because I am pregnant and pretty much just running at a pace I feel comfortable, BUT I am so excited to try some of these speed workouts after baby comes! I love in Utah County as well and I am so sick of the snow! It won’t stop ha!


My husband is having surgery right now so I am sitting in the hospital waiting and I walked past someone eating Cheez its. I immediately thought of Cheetos which I recently had for the first time in my life.

Snack I could have if I could have anything? Cheetos. Right now. So I did. Because I could. They aren’t amazing or fabulous or ritzy or cake or anything incredible. I just never have them. They are little bags of total preservative chemicals covered in orange (gluten free) and I immediately wanted them. So I did.

Totally worth it. Tomorrow, back to the fruits and veggies. Thank you Celiac.


Thanks for the speed work ideas! I definitely have been telling myself 2016 will be the year I introduce more into my routine. Well I’m a month late but this post was a great reminder.


I’m with Brooke. I want it to be summer again too. Do you think crying will make it come back faster?


My running partner would kill for all of your fun brooks socks!!!!! I’ve been trying to find them for her as a gift but can’t find them!! Is there a sock of the month club?!!


Love this post! I need to try some of these speed workouts.
I don’t need a lot of motivation to do speedwork.. it’s my favorite. :)


hmm i think there’s a typo in the hansen’s chart— for goal time 1:14, shouldn’t pace be 5:29 instead of 6:29?


this post is great! super informative, super motivating. thanks for sharing :)

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