6 Training Runs You Should Be Doing to Improve Your Speed

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Do you find yourself doing the same run over and over again? Whether it’s outside or on the treadmill it can become easy to find a comfortable pace and route. Get out of that rut! It’s time for a change. 

These runs should be included in your training. You will keep your body challenged, improve your fitness, and avoid mental and physical complacency while improving your speed. 


1. Cruising Pace Run: This should be your normal running day. You don’t push, but you don’t go easy. Let your body go at a comfortable pace without pushing or holding back. 


2. Threshold/Tempo Run: Work at 85% of your race pace (Lactic Threshold Pace-slightly slower than race pace). Be sure to include a warm-up and cool down. This type of run is meant to improve your ability to work at a higher level of effort for longer time periods (i.e. Improve your race pace!)

Example: 1 Mile Warm-up, 3 miles at Lactate Threshold Pace, 1 Mile Cool Down. 


3. Progression Runs: Add a section of harder work during your run. Typically this is added at the end of the run, but the timing can be varied. This type of run trains you physically and mentally to run at a harder pace when your body is tired. This is essential in the later miles of a race. This type of run also improves your speed without wearing down your body as much as completing the full distance at this pace. 

Example: 10 Mile Training run-7 Miles at Easy or Cruising Pace, 3 Miles at Half or Full Marathon Race Pace. 

Example 2: 10 Mile Training Run-7 Miles at Easy or Cruising Pace, 1.5 Miles at Full Marathon Pace, 1.5 Miles at Half Marathon Pace


4. VO2 Max Run: Running at your goal race pace and slightly faster for shorter time periods. This improves your speed and leg turn over, and prepares your body for running at the desired race pace.  

Example: For 5K: 5 1000 meter runs (1Ks) with rest or jogging rest between repetitions. 

Example 2: Hill Repeats: 30-60 second up-hill sprint. Try to reach the same spot each time for up to 60 seconds. Walk or jog back to your starting point and repeat 5X. 


5. Long Run: This should be done at an easy pace. The effort goes into building the mileage not the speed. This run will increase your endurance, and improve your bodies blood volume. Do not push the speed during your long run. This run is sometimes referred to as your LSD (Long Slow Day). 

Example: 10 miles at a comfortable pace. 


6. Recovery Run/Easy: Slow, easy paced run. Very low effort run. You shouldn’t be out of breath during this run. Benefits of a recovery run include, increased blood volume, promotes healing of your muscles, improves removal of lactic acid build up in your system, and decreases muscle soreness. 

Example: Easy 3 mile run. 


***Do Not Forget to Include a Rest Day****


Rest Days are just as essential to your progress as training days. Your muscles make strength gains during rest. 


Example Training Schedule:


Sunday: Long Run

Monday: Easy/Recovery Run or Rest Day

Tuesday: Threshold/Tempo

Wednesday: Easy to Cruising Pace

Thursday: VO2 Max

Friday: Easy/Recovery or Rest Day

Saturday: Progression Run

7 thoughts on “6 Training Runs You Should Be Doing to Improve Your Speed

  1. Anonymous

    Love your workouts and I am so glad you added a running post. I was hoping you could incorporate more workouts that focus on running, including strength training. It’s hard to figure out a workout plan to keep injury free while running longer distances.

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you Melissa for sharing your experience and making the workouts fun and challenging. I also like to different things each day to keep it interesting and never boring. I have been utilizing your website now for over 2 years and have enjoyed watching you grow and change in all aspects of your posts. Thank you very much. Denise P

  3. Linda

    All of your workouts and information is so helpful. How do you balance your running with your lifting? So much information about keeping cardio low, as not to lose muscle. Thanks so much!!!! Linda

    • benderfitness

      That is very dependent on body type and the type of cardio you are doing. If you are a hard gainer (naturally very slim, less muscle tone, difficulty gaining muscle) you have to be more selective and limit the type of cardio you are doing. You also need to be sure you are fueling your body, and still completing workouts to build strength/muscle. I find that as long as I keep my calories and protein high enough I am able to maintain muscle while running. The amount of time that you spend running also depends on your goals (do you want to race, improve cardiovascular fitness, or have a low body fat %, etc). 🙂

  4. Alesk

    You are simply awesome! In this post, you’ve just answered most of my questions regarding a harder running regimen to increase my pace for half-marathons. THANK YOU!

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