Before you begin: When it comes to running fast, a proper warmup is more important than ever. Since you'll be working your muscles at close to peak capacity, you'll want to gradually prepare them for the hard work ahead. Before a tough workout or race, aim to jog 1 to 2 miles at an easy pace followed by three to five strides. A stride is usually about 100 meters long and focuses on proper form. It shouldn't be an all-out sprint; try aiming for 5K pace or slightly faster. Take about 30 seconds to walk around and recover after each stride. Once you're warmed up, it's time to get fast!
10 x 1 Minute Hard, 1 Minute Easy1 of 6
A great way to ease into speed workouts is with this simple but effective workout. After warming up, alternate running 1 minute hard, followed by 1 minute easy. Depending on the race distance you're training for and fitness level, you can easily tailor the "hard" pace to your needs. When you're ready for a new challenge, try running 2 minutes hard, followed by 1 minute easy.
Mile Repeats2 of 6
The following three workouts will help you recognize and dial into race pace. The basic idea of training specificity is that to race at a certain pace, you need to practice it. After a warm-up, find a track or flat stretch of road, and run 1 mile at race pace. Jog or walk for 400 meters to recover. Repeat two to three more times.
1,000 Meter Repeats3 of 6
This workout is similar to mile repeats but can be tweaked to make it easier or more difficult. Following your warm-up, run 1,000 meters (1K) at race pace. Depending on your fitness level and race goals, walk or jog for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat four to five times.
Race Pace Tune-Up4 of 6
This workout will give you the confidence to tackle your goal pace. After a thorough warm-up, practice running at race pace for approximately half the time of your goal race time. For example, if you're hoping to finish a 5K in 26 minutes (an average of 8:22 pace), run for 13 minutes at that pace. If you're looking for an added challenge, tack this workout on to the end of a longer run—just be sure to take a few recovery days afterward.
Hill Repeats5 of 6
Hill sprints are often called speed work in disguise—and for good reason! Running up hill will engage your fast twitch muscles, improve stride turnover and efficiency and build muscle. Find a hill that will take about 1 to 3 minutes to run up (approximately 200 to 400 meters). Run up the hill at close to an all-out effort and then walk down. Repeat four to six times. For a well-rounded workout, sandwich the hill repeats between a few miles of easy running.