Top tips for starting speedwork

Fastest 5000m ever by a British Runner

Having  tackled a distance event successfully you will probably now you want to run it faster. That means you will have to do some speed work. Here, we offer some key pointers to help get you to the finish line faster.

runbritain has several articles in the runfaster section of the website with ideas of how you can develop your speed. Here are some basic rules that will ensure the sessions you choose get you off to a flying start.

1. Build it in gradually.If you haven't done speed work before you need to build it up very slowly. Choose one of these sessions to put into your programme once a week for a month and then choose another one and start to include that for the second month and so on.

2. Find a track or parkland. Avoid doing speed work on the road unless it is just a few pick ups within your run. A running track or grass will be far more forgiving than tarmac on your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is also important to choose a smooth surface. You will be upset if you go over on your ankle by stepping onto a tree root or into a divet or pothole.

3. Choose your inclines wisely. If you are using hills - either up or down - choose a gradual hill so that you can run fast. After all, this is supposed to be speed work and not strength work. If the hill is too steep you won't be able to run quickly up and you will put the brakes on as you descend and that can leave your muscles sore the next day.

4. Warm up and stretch. Always begin with 10 to 15 minutes of easy running before picking up the pace. Combine that with dynamic stretching for optimum results.

5. Cool down and stretch.Always cool down after a speed session by running for around 10 minutes at an easy pace and then walking. After that you should performing some static stretches. Cooling down prevents the blood from pooling in your legs. Static stretches help to realign the muscle fibres that are slightly damaged through training.

Further tips on this link.