Running Speed and Intensity

When running for exercise and not competition, you should run at an even pace that allows you to talk comfortably. If you run too fast and get breathless, you may not be able to go the distance. Also, speed work tends to tighten muscles and must be properly stretched afterwards. Failure to stretch may lead to an injury. One way to estimate your training intensity is to check your heart rate and see if it falls within your target training zone (See Chapter 1). As previously mentioned, speed is not as important as being able to go the distance consistently. Figure 4-5 presents tips on how to increase your running speed.

Figure 4-5- Ways to Increase Running Speed

Increase length of stride: do not overstride Increase frequency of stride Increase length and frequency of stride

Do not increase speed and distance simultaneously.

Increasing both at the same time may cause an injury. Hold one constant while you gradually increase the other. After you have been running 30 minutes continuously 3 - 5 times per week, you can begin increasing your running distance. Running 20 to 30 miles per week is a good training distance for an intermediate runner. If you would like to further increase your weekly mileage, remember to increase it by no more than 20% per week. Table 4-3 provides a nine week program for running up to 40 miles per week.

Table 4-3. A Program to Run 40 Miles per Week

Week

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thür

Fri

Sat

Sun

Total

One

4

CT*

5

3

CT

3

5

20

Three

5

CT

5

5

CT

5

5

24

Five

5

CT

6

6

CT

6

6

29

Seven

7

CT

7

8

CT

5

8

35

Nine

6

CT

8

6

CT

8

10

40

*CT=Cross train on these days.

The program in Table 4-3 provides a basic template for you. Based on your own routine, you could modify this program to fit your schedule and requirements. Another way to vary your workout is to have one long slow run and one fast run per week. Remember if you feel over tired, cut back your mileage or take a day off from running. With a running base of 40 miles per week you can easily run a half marathon.

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