Can I Interest You In Some Speed Work? - LTC Ed's Journal

by Ed Arntson February 01, 2018 3 min read

Can I Interest You In Some Speed Work? - LTC Ed's Journal

How goes the winter training? What are you doing for your winter training? Rowing/Ellitpical work? Some strength and conditioning work? Maybe you're doing a lot of core work or enjoying the mental freedom that comes with group fitness classes. All good things. 

But, if your training sessions are starting to stagnate as the winter grows longer legs where you live, I'd like to talk to you about adding some speed work to your winter training. 

Yes, this likely means running on a treadmill for your speed work. I know that's not appealing to some of you, but there are some real benefits to running intervals on a treadmill. 

Before we delve into those benefits, one of the reasons that I enjoy interval training/speed work during the winter months is because I am building a base of speed for a focused period of time during a time of the year not normally associated with improving your speed. When I come out of this program, I will maintain speed work at a frequency of 1x per week in order to maintain my speed gains as I move into the spring and some early summer races. 

I am a bigger guy by genetic make-up. Even if I eat super clean and run 30-35 miles per week, I'd still weigh 210-215 pounds...much bigger than most folks who run distance races. I normally walk around at 225 pounds, which means if I don't work on running fast - that ability will quickly diminish.

 

This winter I am running low volume, and instead focusing on high intensity intervals of 400 and 800 meters. 

In the month of January I have been working on the following interval running program. I will continue this program through the third week of February: 

  • Monday: 8 x 400s every 3 minutes...will progress to 10 x 400 every 3 minutes. 
  • Wednesday: Threshold 5k. 
  • Friday: 5 x 800s every 6 minutes...progressing to 7 x 800s every 6 min. 
  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays I do low intensity cardio - usually rowing and elliptical work - and I am able to work in 2 x total body lifts during my work week as my schedule permits. 

 

I used to do a lot of speed work on back to back days and even go as many as 4x per week, but after a serious hamstring injury in 2011 while training for the Best Ranger Competition, I can no longer handle that much speed volume. So I've spread it out to give my legs time to recover. 

I want to encourage other athletes to listen to their bodies. This program may not be right for you, but 400s twice per week during the winter might fit the bill. 

 

Hey! Where are those benefits of running on a treadmill you promised!? 

Ah yes - I almost forgot. 

  1. The pace is consistent. Running interval and threshold paces on the treadmill for shorter distances allows you to really "dial in" those paces and steadily train your body to get comfortable at a new pace level. I've done this several times over the last decade and it's worked very well. I have also found that if you set the incline to .5 or 1.0, the gains on the treadmill translate very well to outside running. 
  2. Set your rest pace. When you run intervals outdoors, sometimes it's hard to keep jogging or maintain an consistent "easy" pace when you are in between intervals. Well, not on a treadmill. It's far too easy to set a moderate pace between your intervals to help you recover and keep moving at the same time. 
  3. Catch up on your favorite shows! Running on a treadmill should allow you to catch up on a favorite TV show, podcast, or radio program while you crush it. I have personally found that the small distraction of a podcast helps pass the time nicely for me during the dull winter months. 

 

Best to you and your families in 2018. 

Train hard and train smart! 

-Ed 

Ed Arntson
Ed Arntson

"I've been taking Perfect Amino for 9 years now. I continue to take PerfectAmino because it offers unparalleled recovery from challenging training sessions. As an Army officer who is constantly on the go, Perfect Amino is the best product to fit my busy lifestyle. I also take Bodyhealth Complete + Detox multi-vitamins every day. If you're looking for the best multi-vitamin on the market - stop looking. BH Complete + Detox provides your body with everything it needs and keeps you going strong."


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