3 Ways To Improve Your Running Speed

Run speed work should be a vital part of your triathlon training.

Here are three of the most effective sessions to get you started.

1. Anaerobic Speed Workouts

These sessions involve short, fast efforts with relatively long rests. Training at these paces helps you to develop your ability to apply quick force to the track or road, increasing your stride length and efficiency. The volume of these sessions is relatively low – a maximum of 3km and often less. If you already have a good endurance base and you’ve done some longer speed workouts (see points 2 and 3 for ideas) you will find that it doesn’t take many of these speed sessions to produce a rapid performance improvement.  Just six to eight workouts will move you on significantly, providing you are fresh when you do them.

Run at the fastest possible consistent pace that you can maintain for the whole session:

  • Session 1: 10 x 200m with 90 secs rest between reps
  • Session 2: 7 x 300m with 2 mins rest between reps
  • Session 3: 6 x 400m with 2 mins 30 secs between reps

2. Aerobic Speed Sessions

If you want to run a faster 5km or 10km race, these are the bread and butter sessions that will help you get there. They involve fast repetitions with relatively short rests. Keep the volume of your main set to around 5km and your pace at around your best for 3km. Start with short repetitions and build the length of time you run at this pace. Here are some examples of how to progress your main sets:

  • Session 1: 2 x 10 x 200m with 20 secs between reps and 4 mins between sets
  • Session 2: 3 x 5 x 300m with 45 secs between reps and 4 mins between sets
  • Session 3: 2 x 6 x 400m with 60 secs between reps and 3 mins between sets
  • Session 4: 12 x 400m with 1-minute rests

3. Aerobic Speed Endurance Workouts

These sessions will help you to maintain a fast pace for longer so that you can stay strong all the way to the finish line on race day. The volume stretches to 8km and the speed towards 5km race pace. You will be required to run for over three minutes in each repetition, all at a high intensity. Examples of fast aerobic endurance sessions include:

  • Session 1: 8 x 800m with 2 mins rests
  • Session 2: 6 x (800m/400m) alternating 2 mins rest and 1 minute rest
  • Session 3: 8 x 1km with 2 mins jog rests
  • Session 4: 6 x 1200m with 2 mins rests

Running Warm Up and Warm Down

A speed session should include a warm up of at least 10-minutes of easy running, followed by running strides to rehearse the speed of movement of the main session. These are short progressive sprints e.g. 4 x 60m build-up runs to 80% maximum intensity. Don’t forget to include a warm down too – five to 10 minutes of easy jogging.

-- CONTENT CONTINUES BELOW --
Big news...
We've made some of our plans 100% FREE! Choose your event below...

*Plus, you’ll also receive free regular training tips from head coach Phil Mosley! Unsubscribe at any time.

Final Tips

  • Don’t attempt all three of the different types of speed workouts above in a single week or you’ll get over-tired or injured.
  • It’s better to focus on one type of session  (e.g. aerobic speed) – and do it once per week for 6-8 weeks before moving onto the next type (e.g. aerobic speed endurance).

Similar articles: How To Prepare For A Sprint Triathlon Run

Share
Share
Share
Share
Print
Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)
Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)

Phil is a recognised endurance expert who founded MyProCoach in 2010 to offer smart training plans that still leave quality time for your family, friends & career - complete with highly-rated coach support (he has sold over 40,000 so far). Learn more here!

As featured on...

IRONMANU_Logo_full
download (1)
trainingpeaks_logo_vertical_2-color
Cycling_Weekly_logo.svg
GTN
220 triathlon

Popular Articles from the Training Tips Blog

ONGOING FREE ADVICE FROM RECOGNISED EXPERT PHIL MOSLEY

Sign up for Phil's email newsletter!

Get expert training advice, the latest news and occasional discounts. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Big news...

We've made some of our plans 100% FREE!

Choose your event:
4.9/5 from 700+ reviews ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Plus, you’ll also receive free training advice via email from head coach Phil Mosley! Unsubscribe at any time.

Planning Your Off-Season

You can start our Off-Season (Fitness Maintenance) plans anytime you like.

They’re designed to help you maintain a good level of fitness when you’re not specifically targeting an event, such as, during the off-season, or anytime you’re taking a break from racing.

Planning For Your Event

For the best outcome, input the date for your “A” target race and the tool will default to a plan that will fill that gap nicely. If you want, you can then adjust the plan length to start it on a different day.

Note that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too!

The longer plans start easier and progress more gradually. This has a bearing on the difficulty level you choose. For example, a 12-week plan starts off at a higher level than a 36-week plan because with 12 weeks left there’s not as much opportunity to build up slowly.
Short Medium Long
Duration
4-12 weeks
14-24 weeks
27+ weeks
Required fitness level
Higher
Moderate
Lower
Training phases
2~4
5~7
8+
Fitness tests
1~2
3~4
5+
Our Standard and Masters plans are designed to get you ready for your target event, while our Off-Season plans allow you to recover from a tough season but still maintain your well-earned fitness.
STANDARD MASTERS OFF-SEASON
Approx. age
Under 40
Over 40
Any
Recovery weeks
Every 4 weeks
Every 3 weeks
N/A
Strength sessions
1-2 per week
2 per week
1-2 per week
Likely goal
Train for event
Train for event
Maintain fitness
This table provides a brief overview of which level might be right for you, to help you get the most out of your plan. You should also note your current fitness levels and how many times you have done this event before.
BEGINNER INTERMEDIATE ADVANCED
Experience
Little to none
1-3 years
3+ years
Time to train
Limited
Moderate
Ample
Likely goal
To finish
At least top half
Competitive
All our plans are available either for sale directly on the TrainingPeaks Store (where you can also see screenshots of sample weeks), or you can subscribe as an Unlimited Athlete to be able to swap freely between all of them, among other benefits outlined below.
BUY SUBSCRIBE
Price
$24 to $159 per plan
From $24 per mth
Flexible, structured training
TrainingPeaks training app
Coaching videos, articles & FAQs
Email coach support

During plan only

Anytime
Swap freely between all 900+ plans
Help setting up your training zones
Coach fortnightly engagement check
Discounted TrainingPeaks Premium (optional)
30-day moneyback guarantee
We're Sorry To See You Go!

Please confirm your cancellation below and one of our team will process it as soon as possible (stopping all future payments). Your subscription will still continue until the end of your current billing cycle (your “next payment date”) and there is nothing else you need to do.

Don’t worry, you will always be able to access your completed workouts and your TrainingPeaks login credentials will stay the same. Also, if any payments happen to come out before we cancel your subscription, we’ll simply refund them.