R16 Blog: Bust Christmas Stress with Running Speed

By Hayden Shearman // Things go a bit nutty in the build up to Christmas. We shop and work and party like the world will end on December 25, often leaving very little time for training.

So, in the midst of the busyness, here are some nifty ways of maximising what training time you have left and, at the same time, building some much needed speed into your legs at this early stage of your marathon or half marathon training.  


Leg speed is important even for marathon runners. It improves efficiency, gets you out of an otherwise plodding routine of easy-paced running, prepares you for more specific race pace work later on and, perhaps most importantly, allows you to improve your base running speed so that your runs take less time (this makes a big difference down the track when you come to running 30-something-kilometres per long run).

Anyway, here are some workouts you can do this Christmas season to improve leg speed and bust stress all in less than 60-minutes per session.

1) Strides

These are a staple of any serious runner’s weekly training diet. They are fast controlled runs (not sprints) of between 10 and 60secs each. They are best done towards the end of an easy run and should have a full recovery between efforts allowing you to focus on good form rather than effort.

R16 Action Point: Each week try progressing from 3x15sec to 4x20sec to 5x30sec sets of strides. 

2) Fartlek

Fartlek is a Swedish word that means “speed play”. Start a fartlek workout with a good jog warm up of 15mins or more. Then play around with running bursts of faster running with periods of recovery jogging. Warm down with 15mins of jogging afterwards.

R16 Action Point: If you do strides on a Tuesday you might do a fartlek workout on a Thursday or Friday (give some space between these paced workouts). Ideas for fartlek workouts include 5x3mins30sces at 10k pace (90secs recovery jogs), 6x2mins at 5k pace (2mins recovery), 3x8mins at half marathon pace (3min recovery).

3) Accelerators

If you’ve been doing strides for a while, you can progress into accelerators where you practise changing up the gears and learning your true capabilities in covering ground effectively and efficiently.

You might do the accelerators over a 150m course (or three lamp posts) and progress from 85% to 90% to 95% every 50m of the 150m course. Have a full recovery between efforts and focus on great running form (stand tall, drive the arms, and push the ground back behind you).

R16 Action Point: Do accelerators at the end of an easy run or even after a fartlek workout. Try doing one of these workouts once a week (once you have done three weeks of strides): 5x150m, 3x300m, 6x100m.

This is the third blog of a fortnightly series all about getting you trained up and raring to go for the 2016 Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon (or half or quarter).  

Be sure to grab your race entry here and check out TempoFit’s TEAM R16 to be part of an incredible community of likeminded runners of all abilities who are all training towards the Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon 2016 (quarter, half and full distances).

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