Why not add a session of interval running or speed work to your normal running schedule? This involves running faster than your steady pace for shorter periods and then running more slowly to recover. How far & fast you run depends on what you are training for and how fit you are. If you are new to speed work you would be wise to start with a fairly easy session. An example of such could be 3 by 3 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. This could be built up to 5 by 5 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy over a matter of weeks. Increase slowly – the total amount of hard work for the first session is 9 minutes with the latter session being 25 minutes – nearly 3 times as much! Respect speed work – you are working at a higher intensity and therefore the next day should be a rest/easy day. This will allow your body to adapt to the new work load. Start with one session a week. As you get fitter you might like to try two sessions but remember to have that easy day or two in between. These sessions may be done on the road, on grass or on the athletics track. With road & grass be aware of any potholes or other hazards.
Whilst running faster your muscles will have to work harder and therefore the warm up and cool down stretch becomes even more important. Expect to feel a bit sore one or two days after the session.
Re fuelling – you will be burning calories more quickly and therefore will need to eat a high proportion of carbohydrates with some protein within an hour or so of finishing your session. This will help your body to recover and be ready for your next run. Also, remember to re hydrate.
Next week we will look at the benefits of speed work for the average runner.