This article was published on April 1st, 2013
As the marathon draws nearer, training shifts from strength to speed. At this point, the body has received a sufficient amount of strength training to endure a marathon, and now it’s time to work on increasing speed, to help meet personal finish times.
Of all the training (endurance, strength and speed), speed training is the fastest to lose (inside of two weeks), so it’s always done towards the end of marathon training, just before the race. It improves coordination and the ability to run faster than your current comfort level.
“High intensity, speed training runs are best done as intervals,” explains Running Room’s founder and CEO, John Stanton. “Speed training is high quality running, and requires 85-95 percent effort of your maximum heart rate.”
For successful speed training, intervals should be short and fast. Runners should start with a two-minute interval.
“Your heart rate should recover to about 120 beats per minute (BPM), after 1-2 minutes of rest before starting the next interval,” said John Stanton. “Keep the speed session to once a week; any more will fatigue your legs and compromise your long run.”
Speed training sessions should include a warm-up and cool down run, along with stretching. Disciplined training sessions will prevent injury.