Speed Acquisition.

19 messages
23/09/2002 at 12:20
Tim, I can only give you my own experience since starting to run in 1999.

From then, until this year my training consisted of steady runs, long runs and tempo runs. During the tempo runs I would run as fast as I could and monitored my improvements. Mileage gradually increased until I was running between 35 & 45 miles per week. Improvements in speed occurred naturally as a result of the increasing workload.

This approach helped me to achieve 38 min 10k & sub 3 hr marathon.

After FLM this year I realised that a plateau had been reached and something different had to be added. The speed sessions since then have helped me to take 2 mins off my 10k PB this year.

If I was coaching someone new to running I would suggest that they spend the first 2 years doing what I did - building up a solid base before doing any specific speed work. This approach is more likely to help you avoid injury and make the speed sessions more enjoyable and effective.
23/09/2002 at 12:51
I would agree with Drew but I would also add that my leg speed has rocketed since I began introducing rep sessions a year ago. Long reps on Tuesday, quick ones on Thursdays.

Va Va voom....!
23/09/2002 at 13:31
Long reps for me are generally mile reps, sometimes longer.

Short reps anything from 100m sprint drills upwards!
23/09/2002 at 14:15

I would agree absolutely with Drew but would add that its easy to get stuck in a rut. I ran a little directionless for a number of years in the late 80's and early 90's and at that time hovvered around 40 minutes for 10k. It wasn't until I started structured speedwork in 1993/4 and joined a running club that my times seriously improved (over two years I improved my times by about 10% to a 10k PB of 36:40).

Not having run seriously for about 7 years I re-wrote my PB slate and am gradually working back towards my old times. As I started at the beginning of 2002 I think it may take until the end of 2003 before I get close to that old level (if ever!).

Beyond that I doubt whether I have the time or motivation to get much better - to run a sub 37 10k requires lots of dedication or a reasonable amount of basic talent or probably both.
23/09/2002 at 15:26
It does depend in part on the proportion of fast- to slow-twitch muscle fibres you've been dealt at conception. If you haven't been endowed with a lot of the former type, training will certainly make you faster and speed sessions will help you to train your legs to use your fast-twitch fibres more effectively, but you're never going to be challenging Dwain.
23/09/2002 at 15:50
Tim - as you're an academic, what you need to do is run a lot of races (as I used to do) and plot them on a scatter diagram. Over a period of two years you should be able to plot a fairly good fit to the line.

Personally I think there is a limit to how fast each of us can run - but we'll never find out because on any race day its either too windy, too hot, too crowded, too hilly, too soon after a previous race, too soon after hard hill session.....or...still recovring from injury, shoe laces were too tight, dehydrated, other miscellaneous injury, course was long (but NEVER short).
23/09/2002 at 21:20
Martin it seems we runners' come up with lots of excuses for lack of performance.
23/09/2002 at 21:54
I dont understand why speed work should cause injury any more than any other type of running. I only began running again just over a month ago and have begun doing speed work already. I find it kinder on certain parts of my legs than pounding along the roads.
Does anyone do the odd hard short run (i.e. 5k at just under race pace) as a type of speed work?
24/09/2002 at 00:34
Speed is defined as rate of stride x length of stride.

A runner with a higher proportion of fast twitch fibres has a clear advantage when it comes to stride rate.

Stride length however,can be greatly improved by specific leg exercises be it weights or hill reps.

Muscle fibres tend to adapt to a particular stress level.It is therefore important not to be a 'one pace runner' and run at different speeds during training.

24/09/2002 at 10:24
It may not be a question of lack of basic speed but the ability to maintain a good speed during a long race.

If you can establish what your basic speed is e.g 400m time trial you can get an idea of your overall potential.

Working at two paces below and above target pace will increase both speed and endurance.Utilising runs at around lactate threshold can then help target pace running.

I also like to include a few short sprints(so that I can still beat my kids).

24/09/2002 at 14:03
Agree with comments from the usual gurus.
I've been running on and off since school,but only added intervals,tempo,fartlek and hill reps to my training 2 years ago.I have always had a good base (played football regularly until last year) and found that I wanted to expand my goals at running.
In that time my marathon time came down from 3.58 to 3.31, halfM from 1.53 to 1.36 and 10k from 47 to 42.

I can see with further refinement of my training that next year I will run 3.15/1.30/40 - well thats the goals, might as well set 'em high.
I've not really run short races although I regularly do a 2.3 mile loop from home in around 15 minutes, and I sometimes do a 2mile 'go for it' on the treadmill with the aim of dipping below 12mins (12.30).

Intervals I do weekly,ditto tempo (usually at 10mile to halfM pace,so for me 6.50-7.10 min/miling) and hills/fartlek fortnightly.
I also introduce hill efforts and short bursts (<100m) into long runs.
24/09/2002 at 23:45
Having seen your time on the treadmill it is clear that you are capable of running at 6min/mile pace.

I assume you are setting the treadmill to a incline of 1-2%(simulating road conditions).

If you could increase this to 3.1 miles over a period of say 12 weeks,this would give a 5k of around 18.30(allowing for a finishing kick).

The net result of this would be to give you a potential 10k time of around 38mins,well within your target time.40 minutes should be well within your reach with your mile capability.

3x2 miles @ 6.30 pace with 90 second recoveries would also help to bring you home on time.

25/09/2002 at 09:30
Glad to hear that i'm not the only one who's been reincarnated.! i've just returned to running after about a 15 year break. i agree with Drew and MartinH, i've introduced some long interval training in the past month or two (eg 4x4mins), after having built up a steady base since April, and i'm already noticing the difference. I was just managing to average 7min miling over 10K about 4 months ago, but now i'm back down to 6.30 to 6.35 over this distance. I am beginning to believe my target of reaching my old pb's are realistic. There's hope for us all.

From everyones comments, I think i also need to introduce some shorter interval training, and aim to increase my current av of 25mpw to nearer the mileage Drew is running (35mpw) over the coming months, to try and get back down to 38min for 10k next year.
25/09/2002 at 10:24
Good luck Gareth - I think the most difficult thing for me now is staying injury free. Certainly the speed is still there (losing excess weight was a big part of this). I'm absolutely confident that I can get back to where I was.
25/09/2002 at 12:10
Tim - why the pained facial expression on your photo ?

Is it the thought of the pain you about to experience as the sight of the first hill rises sharply in front of you ? or.. have you just finished and the pubs shut for the afternoon ? or... your one of the runners who has just run 16 miles instead of 13.1 in last weekends Maidstone half !

25/09/2002 at 13:58
MartinH. Thanks, sounds like you've put in a lot of hard work already, you definately seem to have the motivation. I suppose it must be frustrating knowing that you've run sub 37mins in the past, but who knows it could be possible to repeat it, but like you say it's trying to keep injury and illness free - (I think if you get within a minute or two of that would be impressive enough). I know that is my concern over the next few months, especially as i seem to suffer from colds etc.. We'll see how it goes. I did dip under 38 mins for 10K many years ago, and it would be nice to repeat that again maybe next year sometime. I suppose it's one step (literally) at a time at the moment.
25/09/2002 at 15:56
Just like to highlight the weight issue. Speed over longer distances is definitely inversely related to weight. The Bob Glover Competitive Runners Handbook has goal weight for height figures.

And since I did a 1:35 half at 15st when 27, I'm hopeful of beating that in my mid 40's but only if I get down to something like 14st. So only another 21 lbs to go.
25/09/2002 at 16:51
going back a bit in this thread...

A lot of new runners in our club do in fact do the "speed" sessions (200-800 type reps) on the track but simply do it at a pace where they are puffing a bit but not going flat out. I'd be very surprised if there is any danger in doing this type of speed work yet I'm sure they will see improvement over and above what they could achieve with tempo runs of a few miles or so. Plus there is quite an enjoyment factor what with being on a track in an unstressed & non-competitive environment (though perhaps this is just a feature of our running club).
25/09/2002 at 21:58
Thanks DannyM (amongst others) for the tips herein.

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