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Runners racing to finish line

Training: The Importance of Speed Work

Speed work is an important component of any runner’s training program, and perhaps the most challenging. So we love to get it done at class together in Moms on the Run!

By incorporating intervals, tempo runs, and other speed-focused workouts, we can improve our aerobic capacity, which is essential for sustaining efforts at higher speeds over longer durations. Speed work targets different energy systems within the body, leading to improvements in both speed and endurance. Through consistently applying speed work, runners can expect to see reduced race times and increased performance levels.

Additionally, incorporating speed work into training routines improves running economy and biomechanics, leading to more efficient movement patterns and reduced impact forces on the body. This not only enhances performance but also minimizes the risk of overuse injuries. By challenging muscles, tendons, and ligaments in different ways than steady-state running, speed work helps to strengthen these vital structures, reducing the risk of common running injuries such as shin splints, IT band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis.

Beyond its physical benefits, speed work cultivates mental toughness and resilience. Pushing the body to run faster than comfortable pace requires mental strength and discipline. Overcoming the challenges of running at speed instills confidence, helping us develop a growth mindset and the ability to persevere through discomfort. Ultimately, by embracing speed work, we enjoy the rewards of pushing our limits and achieving new goals!

Remember, speed work should only make up 20% of your overall training program. See last week’s blog for more details on the importance of getting those easy runs in outside of class (or even at class, if you join us for runs several times a week).

To learn more about the science behind speed work and how you can incorporate it into your training, see this excellent blog from runkeeper and our blog on Easy Runs.