The need for speed
Speed work isn't for everyone and you need a good base fitness before beginning but if you are now ready to get to get going here is some advice.
Once you have decided how much emphasis you want to place on speed, here are some of the advantages you can expect to see if you incorporate it into your regime:
1. Improved running efficiency
2. Injury prevention
3. Better fat metabolism
4. Faster finishing times (at least in shorter races)
5. Cardiovascular conditioning
6. Good form
7. It can feel like the most freeing experience ever. Running like the wind is invigorating. Running fast well can make you feel invincible.
8. Teaches fast leg turner
9. Teaches central governor (brain) that its not in danger when you go fast. For the first few times it can really be unhappy about you doing this speed work stuff and will try to slow you down. But the more you do it the more it becomes normal and the brain stops panicking that you are going to do some real damage.
What are the different types of speed work?
Speed training in shorter distances (up to marathon length) is a very important tool to getting your personal best or finishing well. All programs (bar beginners programmes) will encourage a lot of speed work to get you there faster but in the world of ultra training its slightly different and if you spend too much energy honing your speed this can be detrimental.
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There are different types you can include for e.g. fartlek training, hill repeats, tempo runs and formal interval training and each provides a different advantage depending on how its used.