Speed Training Workouts

Speed Training workouts to help you increase running speed.

Speed Training Workouts

I usually take one day a week and choose from one of these 6 speed training workouts. It's nice to have a little variety to work with.

  1. Speed Training Block Party
  2. Spontaneous Fartleks
  3. Hill Training
  4. Tempo Run
  5. Kenyan Dash To the Finish
  6. Timed Miles

Speed Training Block Party

This is a great form of interval training if you live in the City and don't have access to a gym or track. I do this run at least once a month on the 2 mile street that has a bike trail by my apartment. 20 blocks = a mile, so there and back is 80 blocks.

  1. Warm up 5 blocks with an easy run.
  2. Sprint 1 block, run easy one block.
  3. Sprint 2 blocks, run easy one block.
  4. Sprint 3 blocks, run easy one block.
  5. Sprint 4 blocks, run easy one block.
  6. Sprint 5 blocks, run easy one block.
  7. Sprint 4 blocks, run easy one block.
  8. Sprint 3 blocks, run easy one block.
  9. Sprint 2 blocks, run easy one block.
  10. Sprint 1 block, run easy one block.
  11. Repeat steps 2 - 10 once.
  12. Run easy the last 7 blocks to cool down.

Spontaneous Fartleks

I incorporporate this into at least one run a week. It can be an easy run, a long run or if I'm feeling lazy or tired, I will make this my speed training workout for the week.

  1. Pick a tree, light, house, any random object in the distance.
  2. Pick up the speed to a full sprint until you get there.
  3. Repeat this 5-8 times during your run.

If I want to make it really challenging, I will pick a moving object or person, such as another runner and run as fast as I can until I catch up to them.

This can actually be a great way to find a running buddy for the day. I've done entire runs where another runner and I "raced" each like this throughout the run. It can be a lot of fun and sure makes the run more interesting. Just make sure you are in a safe place if you are doing this with a total stranger.

Hill Training

This is my favorite type of speed training. I will incorporate this one or twice a month into my run or I will take a month or two and do this as my speed training workout every week.

I usually do this while pushing my two-year-old in the jogging stroller. It gives me extra "super-mom" points and it helps me get in a good arm workout too, while pushing the stroller.

  1. Find a hill that is about a quarter of a mile long. If you don't live in a hilly area, do this on the treadmill.
  2. Warm up 5-10 minutes.
  3. Run up the hill as fast as you can without loosing control of your posture.
  4. Run back down the hill at an easy, recovery pace. Just let the hill carry you back down.
  5. Repeat steps three and four 5-8 times.
  6. Cool down and be sure to stretch when your done.

Note, it is important to keep a good posture while hill training. You especially want to make sure you are not leaning forward too much, because this can hurt your lower back.

Here are some tips on hill training and how to keep a good posture while doing it.

Tempo Run

The tempo is boring and hard but it is a great way to increase your running speed. This is a good idea to do once or twice a week if you are trying to increase your running speed, especially if you are training for a certain race with a time-goal in mind.

I do it more like once a month. If you have a Garmin or other watch that helps you keep track of your running speed, you can use that. I do this run on the treadmill.

  1. Warm up 1 mile.
  2. Run 2-3 miles at a pace that is faster than your comfortable pace but that you can maintain for this distance.
  3. Cool down one mile.

Kenyan Dash To the Finish

This run will help you train your body to keep going even when you're tired during a race and still be able to finish strong. This is especially affective if you practice it on a long run when you're feeling tired, but you can do this on any run.

  1. Run at an easy pace for 3/4 of your run.
  2. For the last 1/4 of your run, pick up the pace.
  3. (This part is optional.) I like to really pick up my legs for that last 1/8th - 1/4th of a mile and do an all-out sprint.

This is my favorite speed training workout. I do it any time I sign up for a race other than a marathon. I usually run the race as a training run and then pick up the pace at the end as if I've been running like a Kenyan all along and just lost time stopping for a coffee break.

I've been making a habit of doing this once or twice a week while training for my next marathon, the DC Marine Corps, because I hear there's a big hill right at the end and I want to be able to finish strong.

Timed Miles

This is a great speed training run that we did about every other week for about 2-3 months while I was training for my first marathon.

Looking back at my race history, I was my fastest when I was doing these workouts. Looks like it's time to give these another try.

  1. Warm up about a mile.
  2. Sprint 1 mile.
  3. Recover with a 1/2 - 1 mile easy run.
  4. Repeat steps two and three 1-2 times.

More Speed Training Workouts

Be Creative

Any type of run where you increase your speed beyond your comfort zone counts as a speed training workout. So get out there and make it fun.


Any type of interval training is a great way to increase your running speed.


If you have the P90X training system, their plyometrics workout can be a really affective speed training workout!

Running Cadance

Practicing your running cadance can be a great way to increase your running speed. Practice moving your feet faster by thinking less time on the ground, more time in the air, thus picking up your feet faster.

Here is a great article by another running mom on how to practice your running cadance.

Running Techniques to Help Increase Running Speed

Here are some more techniques that will help you increase your running speed.

Your Speed Training Techniques

Do you have a speed training workout technique? Share it with us here.

Do You Have to Do Speed Training?

Of course not! It all depends on what your goal is. Will you get faster if you don't do speed training workouts? Sure! Especially if you're just starting out, just keep running consistently and you will get faster.

But if you have a specific time in mind for your next race, some speed training workouts are definately a good idea.

Speed training is also good for you even if you don't care if you get faster or not. It will help make you a stronger runner and it can help with other things like weight loss.

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