Improving Speed and Endurance

Good for you! It sounds like you are enjoying yourself, and that's what it is really all about! As the weather cools off, a transition to running outside and that alone will help you improve your fitness for racing. Treadmill running is easier than road running because the treadmill belt helps assist with leg turnover and you are running in an air-conditioned environment on level ground...very different than outside! I suggest when you use the treadmill, put it at a low incline to better simulate the effort of running outdoors. Here’s how you can train to improve your stamina and speed on a treadmill or outside:

Hill training On a treadmill, increase the incline for one minute then lower the incline for a minute of recovery. Repeat this for a full workout. If you're running on the road, find a hilly route to run once every week or two.

Speed training Use an interval program on the treadmill or create your own by increasing the pace for one minute and then recovering for two to three minutes and repeat. As this becomes easier, build up the fast pace segment of your interval up to five minutes with one minute of recovery time. Your total workout time for this speed session may only be 15-20 minutes initially, but with training, you will gradually be able to lengthen the total workout time to 45 minutes. Incorporate speed works like this into your routine once a week.

You can also increase your speed with a workout at a local track. Try running the ‘straights’ and walking the ‘curves’ Do this for two to four laps and increase the number of laps gradually as the workout becomes easier. When you build up to eight laps, increase the distance that you run. Run halfway around the track then walk for recovery and repeat. When that becomes easier, run all the way around the track at your fast pace then walk or jog a lap for recovery and repeat. One word of caution—always warm up BEFORE speed workouts. Run/walk for one mile or 15-20 minutes. Cool down with an easy half mile and stretch afterward.

Endurance training Increasing your endurance will also help you prepare for your 5K race. Lengthen the distance of one run a week, your “long” run. The actual distance of a long run is relative to the distance of your goal race. Since you are training for a 5K, try increasing your long run to six miles. Increase mileage very gradually over time by increasing your total weekly mileage by 10% a week.