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March 20, 2024 4 min read

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King, Jr


Why should you add speed training to boost your half marathon performance…why not? Many runners get caught up in the ho hum of going out and running with no plan, no goal, just a run..WHICH can be amazing, but not if you have a specific goal in mind. Speed training tends to take a back seat when it comes to long run training. All through my 20’s and maybe even 30’s I didn’t do two things..that eventually made a HUGE difference in my run times, the first was strength training, the second was adding 1 day of speed and 1 day of tempo runs along side my long runs and recovery runs.

If you need more convincing to add speed work to your routine, check this out:

  • Speed training makes you FASTER…(well, of course!)
  • Improved running efficiency
  • Helps you run more comfortably at a higher cadence
  • Increases myoglobin, in turn increasing your ATP, giving your muscles more energy
  • Increase your mental toughness (and ability to handle physical discomfort from running)

Lets Talk Speed Workouts

Speed workouts are just a different kind of vibe than just heading out for an easy short run or a lsd (long slow distance) run. Research has shown that shorter sprint intervals give more benefits to the runner than long speed intervals. This would mean that 1-3 minute intervals of speed would be the recommended time. This would fall anywhere between a 200m and 600m distance. Speed workouts should not be done if you are fighting a nagging injury.


Incorporate 1 speed workout a week with a rest day and an easy run day before your longer run day on the weekend. The following is a list of beginner speed workouts you can start incorporating once a week.

  • FARTLEKS: The meaning of a FARTLEK is Swedish for “playing with speed” .The most basic of speed work can be done by sprinting to one telephone pole, jogging to the next, sprinting the next, walking the next and repeating. If you aren’t on a good road for that, push pace (sprint) 20 seconds, slow jog 20 seconds then repeat this 5-10x’s depending on your experience. You may notice you feel weird trying to run fast if you haven’t in a while but by showing up week after week you’ll slowly show progress and it WILL get easier!
  • STRIDES: A stride is not considered a fast pace but they are ran a little faster than your easy run pace. A basic stride workout can be for distance or time. If done on a track, I like to do 100 meter strides followed by 300 meter easy jog. No track, no problem, just complete 6-8 20 seconds strides (pick up the pace) followed by 60 seconds of a very easy pace.
  • INTERVALS: There are an endless amount of run interval workouts that includes drop 100, pyramids, and ladders. A basic interval workout to start with would be a 3x 600m-400m-200m at a push pace (stride out) followed by 90 seconds of rest between the 600 & 400. Then after each set, recover by walking/stretching for 3 minutes then repeat.
  • HILL SPRINTS: I like to call these my butt kickers or booty lifters because they do just that…kick your butt while working the glutes. Find a hill and sprint up that hill for around 20 seconds, turn and jog slowly back down. Start with anywhere from 5-10 hill repeats depending on your experience.

*REMEMBER TO TAKE 10-20 minutes of easy running before and after each sprint interval session to warm up and cool down. This is so important to incorporate into your routine!


  1. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A TRACK TO RUN FAST. This is a myth, there are many times I’ve incorporated sprint workouts on a county road or bike trail.
  2. YOU HAVE TO BE A FAST RUNNER. Heck no! Just like I talk about you must lift heavy weights…”heavy for you” the same goes for sprint training. Focus on running what is fast for YOU!
  3. Speed workouts must leave you feeling EXHAUSTED. NO. You should feel accomplished because you did something HARD, but you don’t want to run to the point of injury or terrible form. You want to aim for a rate of perceived exertion of a 9 or 10, which is up there, without hurting yourself. I promise you’ll feel so much more confident as a runner after completing my 12 week training program directing you to correct paces and workouts, helping to balance the hard days, with recovery and longer slow days.


If your a runner in perimenopause and menopause, there are certain ways to adjust your training, nutrition and lifestyle to optimize your specific run training needs. Grab this link to discover your HORMONE HEALTH with this fun Quiz!

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