The Importance of Speed and Drill Workouts for Runners
Whether you’re in the beginning of your running journey or a well-established runner. It is important to incorporate dynamic/plyometric drills and speed/track workouts into your training regimen. Why you ask? Well, by running short and fast repeats, you improve your running economy. Running economy is the amount of oxygen taken in at a certain pace. By doing dynamic or plyometric drill, you improve the communication between your brain and legs while strengthening the muscles and joints required for power and speed. Thus, improving your pace and more efficient running.
To give you an idea of some dynamic or plyometric drills here are a few...
Spend 10-15 minutes doing: high knees, A&B skips, butt kicks, lunge twists and squats followed by your track workout or spend 20-30min doing plyometric type drills such as: icky shuffle, hopscotch, frog jumps or hops, single foot hops or bounding. YouTube these workouts to see how they’re done.
A few examples of speed workouts done on the track, to improve your running economy are; Mile Repeats, Pyramids and Straightaways.
Mile Repeats-running 1 mile@10k or half marathon pace with a ½ mile recovery. Repeat 3-5x Cool Down 10min or 1 mile
Pyramid-Start by running 400m (1x around track) @5k pace. Recover 400m easy jog. Run 800m (2x around track) @5k pace. Recover 400m easy jog. Run 1200m (3x around track) @5k pace. Recover 400m easy jog. Run 1600m (4x around track) @5k pace. Recover 400m easy jog. Cool down 10min or 1 mile.
Straightaways- Warm up for a couple of laps, start to pick up the pace (5k pace) on the straightaways of the track and then recover (at an easy pace) on the turns. Do these 4 times. This is a great beginner track workout.
Drills or plyometric exercises should always be done after a warm up. If you’re a beginner or have never done any type of speed/drill training, you should first establish a good running base. Warming up, starting conservatively and building up the speed is an effective way to attack the workout. Be mindful of your form and always cool down and stretch after your workouts.