Spring is here, and that means it's time to hit the track. While the incredibly mild winter called for logging lots of mileage, this is a great time to incorporate shorter, faster runs into your workout.
For those who hate running in circles, take note: Mike Hamberger of DC Running Coach says speed workouts can greatly improve your running performances by helping you run farther without feeling short of breath or fatiguing leg muscles. In addition, you'll feel more comfortable when running at your typical jogging pace. During a race, the perks of speed training may even kick in as you get a last-minute burst of energy to sprint toward the finish line.
As a bonus, workouts that involve short bursts of speed can improve cardiovascular efficiency and maintain a healthy heart. Doing sprint intervals is also a proven way to burn calories during and after a workout.
Here are three speed workouts to try, whether you're at a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. Hamberger recommends using the Run Works calculator to find out your ideal training pace.
Beginner: Five to six laps of 100-meter striders. Run 75 percent full speed down the straightaways on the track, and jog at a snail's pace on the curves.
Intermediate: Three one-mile repeats with a one-minute rest in between. Base your pace on a recent 5K performance.
Advanced: Four or five one-mile repeats with a one-minute rest in between.