The old adage rings true: "No pain, no gain."
Unfortunately there are no 'easy' ways to speed, one of the key elements to getting faster is moving outside your comfort zone... Here are some ways to surprise your muscles and improve your speed this week:
These types of workouts can be time based or distance based (i.e. six 800m intervals, or six three-minutes-fast intervals) and have active recovery periods built in. The point is to push yourself to a much faster pace than you’d be inclined to on a regular run, with the knowledge that you don’t have to sustain that pace for a long period of time. Hint: use your rest breaks here to actually rest. If you’ve taken the two minutes to jog slowly or walk, you’ll get more out of your speed intervals.
Learn more about intervals, here.
Save these speed bursts for the end—when you’re good and tired. Run a few kilometres at a comfortable, steady pace, and at the end add a few sprint intervals. These will simulate what it’s like to push through the finish line on race day, when your legs are telling you to quit!
The key is to try maintain your form. Learn more about form here.
The lack of rest breaks in these runs makes them pretty intense. The aim is to run as fast as you can over a certain time period or distance. A tempo run should be longer than an interval distance, but not your furthest distance of the week.
A nice flat route can result in a great time, but it’s not going to improve your fitness for race day. Hills provide a mental and physical challenge that will make you faster. Focus one of your runs each week around some hill work, or incorporate some steep climbs into your longer runs. Your stronger quads and lungs will thank you.