Hi Carrots n Cake readers! I’m Gia from RUNgiaRUN where I blog about life as a marathon runner, twin mom and running coach in New York City.
I’m honored to be able to guest post for Tina!
My journey as a runner is similar to many. I was never a runner or an athlete growing up. I began running as a means to a healthier lifestyle and spent my first few years figuring it all out. I didn’t race, and I certainly had no idea how fast I was running. It really didn’t matter … but as I fell more in love with the sport I began I thinking about things like races, paces and eventually PR’s. Running has become my place to challenge myself and enjoy the sweetness of hard earned success!
Throughout the past 10 years as a runner I have experienced first hand that the sure fire way to grow as a runner and PR is to practice running faster. Sounds obvious right? It is … the more your practice adding speed and quickness into your running routine, the more conditioned your muscles and fast twitch muscle fibers will become. Making you a stronger, faster more efficient runner.
The problem is that incorporating speed training can be confusing. I mean 4x800m @ 10KP w/ 400m CD sounds more like an algebra equation than something I want to spend my Wednesday morning doing.
So let’s get real here… How can we incorporate speed training without needing a dictionary?
By Speed Playing! Here are a few games you can incorporate into your running routine.
The Pick and Dash – in the middle of a regular run set your sights on a distant tree, mailbox or light post. Pick up your pace and make a dash for it. Cool down when you reach your chosen destination. Repeat along the course of your run.
Leapfrog It – Do this one with a friend. The first runner choses a destination ahead and dashes to it, when they reach their destination, runner 2 dashes for runner 1. Cool down together. And repeat.
Bursts – in the middle of a regular run increase your pace for 1 minute. Cool down until your breathing is back to normal and repeat. You can increase the speed you are running each burst or you can stick to one speed. Your call.
Rock it out – This is a great one for the treadmill. Find your favorite jam. You know, the one that makes you just a little extra pumped up … pick up the pace during each round of the chorus. Repeat that song, because you love it so much that OF COURSE you want to hear it again!
Rules of the Game:
⁃ Start with one day per week.
⁃ Go for 3-5 repetitions of the speed play of your choice.
⁃ Make sure that you warm up/cool down. Think 10 minutes at the start and end of your run.
⁃ Stretch it out. Take time to stretch your newly fast twitching muscle fibers when you have finished your workout
⁃ Reign it in. You should never be running at 100% of your capacity. Yes you should push yourself but don’t hurt yourself by running at an uncomfortable speed.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN. This is speed play not speed work. Running fast may not feel natural at first, but the more you play around with it the more comfortable you will become …
Smile while you push your pace (or at least smile when its over) Enjoy the little change ups in your routine. And never forget … Don’t underestimate yourself. You never know where your running journey will take you!
If you would like to read more about me and my training and coaching tips, come and visit RUNgiaRUN.