Want to improve your running speed but limited for time? This 60min workout from Emma-Kate Lidbury should help..
For this session you will need: run shoes and socks, shorts, running shirt, and heart rate monitor/GPS or watch.
It's a good idea to do this session when you're relatively fresh and able to give it your best. Avoid doing it the day after a long run or harder bike ride.
Similarly, do not attempt a high-intensity run or bike session the next day; an easier ride or swim would be ideal.
The speed pyramid
15mins steady run, followed by 5mins building the pace each minute, so the final minute is near race-pace effort/speed.
Run at slightly above race-pace effort/speed for 15secs; 30secs; 45secs; 60secs; 75secs; 60secs; 45secs; 30secs; 15secs.
Between each interval, run steady for 1min.
Repeat set twice.
10min easy run.
This session is ideal for getting your body used to working at (or above) your target race pace.
If done consistently, you will notice the benefits translate to your aerobic and anaerobic run fitness, with improved ability to run for extended periods.
This should mean one thing on race day: faster running!
Running fast is all about holding good form and efficiency, so use this session to really focus on your form.
The better it is, the more likely you are to hit and hold your target pace. Keep using keywords or phrases in your mind and, as you fatigue, remind yourself of them. This is great practice for racing.
This session is great for run speed and foot turnover.
Running at, or slightly above, race-pace effort for these short intervals is the perfect way to boost your top-end speed without causing high levels of fatigue.
Although these intervals may seem short, maintaining race-pace speed (or slightly above) consistently throughout the longer reps (60 and 75secs) soon accumulates, forcing you to hold good form, recover, and then pick up the pace again.
This is a great session to do a few days out from a key race to really help kick-start your race-day speed and 'open your engine'.
How to adapt for Ironman
Do this session in the latter stages of a longer run, so that your legs already have a few miles in them when it comes to increasing the pace.
Alternatively, try a double-run day and do a longer, steady run in the morning, followed by a shorter session later on (which includes these intervals), but do once through rather than twice.