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How to Run Faster For Longer

Run faster

Speed Work or Calorie Burning Sessions

Wanting to run faster or lose weight…well upping the tempo in a structured way will have you running faster and losing those calories you so desperately want.

Before starting any speed phase you should already have a good level of base fitness. What is base fitness; this is training that has been done at a low intensity, over a number of months, with the aim of building up the distance or mileage of your runs or whatever sport you may be doing. It’s like building a house…a builder needs a good solid foundation before he starts building a house right…training is the same, the foundation is your base and the better your base (and this gets bigger over years of rebasing) the better you will be able to handle the speed work. As for weight loss this probably isn’t as critical if your primary goal is just to shed the kilo’s…but having said that some base fitness is important and if you follow these plans you will not only lose weight but run quicker in the process.

For an athlete, a big base means a better tolerance to training, a faster recovery and the ability to handle more speed work. All these factors add up to a potentially higher peak in performance, although other factors like talent, specificity of training and so on can greatly influence how well an athlete will likely do. Unfortunately there is no substitute for experience…so the greater the training history, the better you are likely to perform.

Hence, the importance of base fitness.

If you’ve completed the zero to 35 minute training program and wanting to run faster to lose more weight or a runner looking to run faster this plan consists of 2 main speed sessions per week…intervals (VO2 Max) and tempo runs. This combination works really well and will have you running faster and shedding the kilos you want to lose.

Speedwork Schedule

MonTueWedThurFriSatSun
Wk1Easy
Run
Warm-up 10 mins jogging,
3-5 accelerations,
run fast for 2 mins then 2 mins jogging repeat 5 times.
Warm-down 10 - 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Tempo run
Warm-up 15 mins jogging,
Run for 20 mins at 85% effort,
Warm down 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Day
Off
Long
Run
Wk2Easy
Run
Warm-up 10 mins jogging,
3-5 accelerations,
run fast for 2 mins then 2 mins jogging repeat 5 times.
Warm-down 10 - 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Tempo run
Warm-up 15 mins jogging,
Run for 20 mins at 85% effort,
Warm down 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Day
Off
Long
Run
Wk3Easy
Run
Warm-up 10 mins jogging,
3-5 accelerations,
run fast for 2 mins then 2 mins jogging repeat 6 times.
Warm-down 10 - 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Tempo run
Warm-up 15 mins jogging,
Run for 20 mins at 85% effort,
Warm down 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Day
Off
Long
Run
Wk4Easy
Run
Warm-up 10 mins jogging,
3-5 accelerations,
run fast for 2 mins then 2 mins jogging repeat 7 times.
Warm-down 10 - 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Tempo run
Warm-up 15 mins jogging,
Run for 20 mins at 85% effort,
Warm down 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Day
Off
Long
Run
Wk5Easy
Run
Warm-up 10 mins jogging,
3-5 accelerations,
run fast for 2 mins then 1.75 mins jogging repeat 8 times.
Warm-down 10 - 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Tempo run
Warm-up 15 mins jogging,
Run for 20 mins at 85% effort,
Warm down 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Day
Off
Long
Run
Wk6Easy
Run
Warm-up 10 mins jogging,
3-5 accelerations,
run fast for 2 mins then 1.5 mins jogging repeat 10 times.
Warm-down 10 - 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Tempo run
Warm-up 15 mins jogging,
Run for 20 mins at 85% effort,
Warm down 15 mins jogging.
Easy
Run
Day
Off
Long
Run

If you’re a runner and 6 runs is too much or perhaps your a triathlete and 5 runs is all you need remove one of the easy run days. When I competed as a triathlete and multisporter I ran 5 times a week…over the winter months I ran 6 times when I ran Harriers.

If you’re using this for weight lose and have a good running and walking base and 6 runs is too much. Then mix your days up with some walking. Do the intervals and tempo runs and 1 easy run. The long run could be swapped for a long walk.

How to run faster

VO2 Max Sessions or Interval Sessions

These are hard and fast intervals of 2 minutes in duration. Do not try and sprint for 2 minutes…build the intensity up as you go. For the first couple of weeks or until your body adjusts to this type of intensity, build each interval up to around 90 to 95% effort…not quite max. After week 3 or when you feel comfortable try raising the intensity from 90/95% to 100% (max) for the last 20 to 30 seconds of the last 2 intervals only. For example week 3 should look like this:

Warm-up, 10 minute jog. Then 3–5 accelerations of 20 seconds duration on 1 minute, i.e., 20 second acceleration followed by 40 second easy jog. Repeat 3 to 5 times. These are a good warm-up prior to the 2 minute intervals; these are not sprints, so gradually pick-up the pace over the 20 seconds. After the last one, jog for 2 minutes at an easy pace, then start the 2 minute intervals. 2 minutes fast, followed by 2 minutes easy jogging (no walking). Build the intensity up over the 2 minutes to about 90 to 95% effort, you should feel as though you’re holding back, it’s not an all-out sprint of 100% effort. Do this for the first 4 intervals. The last 2 intervals raise the intensity for the last 20 or 30 seconds to 100% effort. If you can’t it means you’re running your intervals too hard. Warm down with an easy 15 minute jog.

Tempo or Lactate Threshold

A tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold run. These are run at approximately 85-90% of your maximum heart rate for 20 or more minutes. Ideally the best way to do these is have a VO2 Max test. This test not only gives you your VO2 Max but more importantly your lactate threshold and the information needed to set heart rate training zones etc. Lactate threshold, what is it? In simplistic terms, it’s the pace which you can run and maintain before lactate acid builds up. Your VO2 Max and lactate threshold for running will be different for cycling, swimming, kayaking etc. You would need different tests for each of the sports.

If this sounds too high tech or perhaps not what you’re looking for, you can also do this without testing. Its more hit and miss and not as accurate as the actual testing but is still a useful guide. On a scale 1 to 10, run them at an 8, with 5 rated as comfortable and 10 race pace. If you feel sore with lactate acid build up you have run them too hard.

For those that are interested in reaching their full potential, then a VO2 Max test is the best way to go. You will need a heart monitor which is a great tool for setting training zones or in the case of a tempo work out you will be able to use it to run the exact pace of your lactate threshold.

Search the internet for VO2 Max testing in your area.

Another tip, always run your tempos on the same circuit or course. Use the same starting point and make a note of where you finish after 20 minutes. As the weeks go bye you will notice you’re running further and the sessions will feel more comfortable…your heart rate monitor will keep you on track, glance at it from time to time as it’s easy to run slightly too fast or slip off the pace. Over time your efficiency and pace judgement will improve.

Speed work

 

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

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17 thoughts on “How to Run Faster For Longer

  1. Wow, I think your site will become my one stop learning fitness resource. I never realized how much was involved.
    You’ve explained it all so clearly, thank you
    Joseph

    1. Hi Joseph

      Your welcome, thanks for stopping bye and leaving your comments, much appreciated. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

      Murray

  2. Great write-up Murray, I find it very informative.
    I used to be a runner but I stopped running several months ago due to the drastic temperature change in my country (It rose from 28°C to 43°C!). A lot my friends told me to just run at the gym but I’m a person who like to run outdoor instead so I started swimming where it’s a bit more cooling. I was just curious, will this sudden change in sports activity affect my body in a way?

    1. Hi Riaz
      Thanks for dropping bye and leaving your comments.
      Actually a change in sporting activity is good for the body, so don’t be concern there. Crossing training is a good thing…I find swimming helps my breathing when I’m running. There are other benefits from other sports too. I’m sure you’ll notice some benefits when you get back into running too.
      All the best, hope to see you back on here soon.

      Murray

    2.  ( 2012.02.23 10:41 ) : I wanted to send you one very liltte remark to finally say thanks again on your amazing secrets you’ve featured on this page. It’s simply surprisingly generous with people like you to give without restraint exactly what a lot of people could have offered for an electronic book to make some bucks for their own end, chiefly seeing that you might well have tried it in the event you decided. These solutions as well worked as the easy way to comprehend someone else have a similar desire the same as my own to realize a liltte more in terms of this problem. I believe there are numerous more enjoyable moments up front for individuals that take a look at your site.

  3. Hi,
    wow! I didn’t really know that there is so much to know about running!
    I usually just put on my shoes and run.

    Thank you for sharing your great knowledge about this. I will have to rethink the way I have been running until now.

    Do you know how much a VO2 Max test costs?

    Cheers.
    Moritz

    1. Hey Moritz
      Thanks for your comments. Lol yes sometimes just putting on your shoes and running is a good thing too. To run with purpose, you really do need a running program with some good structure.
      A VO2 Max text here in New Zealand is $120, which is about $170 US. Do a search on the internet for places in your area. You will also need a heart rate monitor, I have a link in my blog…it has great reviews and the price is pretty good too.

      Thanks
      Murray

  4. Hi Murray, this looks professional. Is there any scientific base to why these exercises would work? Do I need to change my diet to adapt to these exercises? Cheers, Jerry

    1. Hi Jerry,
      Thanks for your questions. Yes these are all tried and true exercises that work. To do it scientifically you will need a VO2 Max test and a heart rate monitor. All the top athletes in the world go through this process and each coach may have a slight variation in how their athletes train, plus the amount of volume they do but the principle is the same.
      As far as diet is concern, this is as critical as the actual training…diet plays a big part in how well you exercise. To answer your question it will depend on what your diet consists of, check out my post on http://theoutdoorden.com/nutrition-for-active-people
      If you have any more question, don’t hesitate to ask.
      Murray

  5. Hi Murray – Good informative post. Most people starting out on a training program want to be able to run like Mo Fararh – it just can,t be done.
    I recently started back at Ju-Jtsu after a 15 year break and soon learned its a process. You can’t start back at the level you finished at.
    Some good useful tips
    Mark

    1. Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your comments, much appreciated. Yes that’s a common mistake many people make. Easing back into any exercise regime is a must. Pleased you got some useful tips, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.
      Murray

  6. I would like to do this for weight loss. I am glad you have a schedule! I will more likely to follow something like this if I have something like that written down. Thanks!

    1. Hi Liz
      Thanks for your feed back. If your keen on losing some weight, I have a few posts that maybe of interest to you and more importantly you don’t need to spend lots of money to lose it. Check out:
      How to lose weight walking
      Beginner running schedule
      Nutrition for active people

      If you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask.

      Murray

  7. Hi Murray – Just read your article about – The Hooker Valley Track NZ. Thisreally does look like a beautiful part of the world. Maybe some day when my WA business takes off I’ll get chance to visit it.
    Great information and great setting
    Thanks for sharing
    Mark

    1. Hi Mark
      Thanks for the feed-back. Yes it is a beautiful part of New Zealand…I’ve traveled and hiked all over New Zealand and many places of the world, however I only visited the Mt Cook region in February this year, it is truly stunning. The Mueller Hut or Sealy Tarn walk is also in the region, equally as particular. Hope you manage to get down to this part of the world.

      Cheers
      Murray

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