Put the Finishing Touches to your Running Speed
This simple 300m track intervals session is very effective for improving your running speed once you have a strong base of easy mileage.
Generations of runners and some of the best running coaches over the years have proved that the best way to run fast is to build a large base of easy mileage. A hundred miles a week of running is fairly common for elite distance runners, most of it very easy compared to their race pace.
Whilst the mileage numbers don't need to be as high as what the elites do, you'll still run far faster off a lot of easy training mileage than you will if you simply run hard a few times a week. This isn't popular in our quick fix world, but it's 100% true.
Once you have that base, however, a few interval sessions will provide that last bit of speed that will allow you to beat your personal best or drop your mates in the last mile or two of that spirited tempo run.
Using a track makes this session very easy to do, but the perimeter of a playing field will do, as long as you can measure the 300m fairly accurately.
On a track, the recovery is simply walking the 100m back to the start point. What's good about this is that you can modify how much recovery you need by walking a little faster as you get fitter (referred to in training literature as increased density - more work in less time).
In my notation, the "300m Track Intervals" session is written like this...
10 x 300m (30% of 10k pace less 45s), 100m walking recovery; 5min Jog/Walk; 5 x 100m Sprint (as fast as you can with good distance form),100m walk recovery
How to do it...
Calculate your target interval pace by subtracting 45s from the average kilometre pace in a recent best 10k, dividing by 10 and multiplying by 3.
Warm up thoroughly beforehand, including some fast-paced 30m strides to get used to the required turnover.
- Run 10 x 300m intervals with a 100m walk recovery. Aim to hit your target split exactly; too fast and you probably won't finish, too slow and you're perhaps too ambitious with the pace and need to add a few seconds to the pace.
- Jog or walk for at least 5 minutes to recover
- Run 5 x 100m Sprints. These should be fast, but only as fast as you can run with good distance running form. Walk back to the start to recover.
- Cool down 5-10 minutes easy jogging and walking, bringing your heart rate down to below 120bpm.
Why should you do intervals? Find out here.