If you want to run faster, you've got to speed up. Fact. But how? Saucony running ambassadors Phoebe Thomas and Nick Anderson show how it's done
If you want to faster, simply running further or more frequently will not help. Running long teaches you endurance. Running faster teaches you speed.
So if you want to start scoring PBs on an ongoing basis, you're going to have to put yourself through some discomfort.
Yes, running faster does hurt. But look on the bright side, it means you can get your training session over with more quickly.
Phoebe Thomas and Nick Anderson of www.runningwithus.com have between them clocked up a good few miles (understatement). They recommend threshold training to increase your running speed.
And they were on hand, courtesy of Saucony, to demonstrate how it should be done, one dark, dank, rainy, windy afternoon in London's Hyde Park recently.
As Phoebe explained in a Zest.co.uk expert running clinic, 'You need to teach your body to run at a sustained pace for longer and the only way you will do this is by incorporating threshold running within your week.'
For an improving runner (ie you're no longer a beginner: maybe you regularly run 10k or have run your first half-marathon), make one of your three (or four if you can manage it) runs a week into a threshold training session.
Threshold effort is running at what Phoebe calls 'controlled discomfort'. If someone asks you a question while you're running at this pace, you should be able to give a three to four word answer but no more. You certainly shouldn't be able to maintain a conversation. But you shouldn't be running flat out.
In terms of effort, aim for about an 8 or 8.5 out of 10. Learn to recognise your effort levels
An improver should attempt the following in one threshold training session per week:
1. Warm up for 10 minutes at jogging pace
2. Run at threshold pace for 2.5 minutes in one direction, then turn and run back at threshold pace again for the same amount of time. Try and end up at your starting point to ensure you are maintaining pace.
3. Jog it out at gentle pace for two minutes.
4. Repeat twice, so by the end of your session you have run three sets of the above.
Phoebe explains, 'Threshold running is the bedrock of all training and the world's greatest include this in every single week of their training.'
As you improve, increase the number of threshold blocks you run, so you may incorporate 4 x 5mins at threshold effort with a 2-minute jog recovery in between within a 45-minute run. These blocks will gradually increase in length as you get fitter.
Phoebe says, 'Threshold running works on your running economy and literally teaches you to run faster for longer and sustain a faster pace.'
Nick Anderson points out that incorporating threshold training into your weekly run schedule enables you to maximise your training time - busy people make better progress over shorter distances. He says, 'You don't have to run for a long time in order to be able to run a longer race, provided you train effectively.'
Visit www.runningwithus.com or www.runlounge.com for more advice from Phoebe and Nick. Thanks to Saucony for setting up our threshold training session. Recommended everyday light, resonsive training shoe: the Saucony Guide
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