How to Start a Speed Workout Without Getting Injured

Getting used to running is difficult at first, but it is really rewarding, especially when you are reaching big goals, such as running the first 5K or setting a new personal best. However, for every new runner, there comes a point where you start asking, “What’s next?”

When this happens, you will need to pay attention to any number of running achievements , and one of the best options is to add some speed to your daily routine. There are many benefits to incorporating speed training into your regular exercise routine, from improving your cardiovascular system to helping you run fast.

However, if you’re just starting out, speeding up can be intimidating. “When you start doing something at maximum intensity, the stress you put on your body is extremely high,” said Anthony Wall, running coach and director of the American Exercise Council . “Understanding this concept is where we want to work when we look at pre-preparation, when we look at the moving parts of the exercise, when we look at the different exercises.”

Start slowly and be consistent

Since sprinting puts more stress on your body than jogging, this means you are more likely to get injured. This is why it is so important to start slowly and be conservative when it comes to increasing speed. This means starting with fewer reps, shorter sprints, and at a more conservative pace than you might be tempted to do. You need to strengthen and prepare your body to work at higher speeds.

“We want to give the body time to adjust,” Wall said. “This means that the body has the opportunity to strengthen the ligaments, and the connective tissues – to adapt to the forces that you are going to apply on them.”

As with many other aspects of fitness, sprinting takes time, effort and, above all, consistency. “Runners need to be patient with themselves and their bodies,” said Josh Honore, personal trainer and head coach at Xponential + .

Focus on mobility and stability

“Part of what we do when we train people at the start of a sprint program is to increase the mobility and stability of their bodies so they can handle the increased speed over time,” Wall said. This includes mobility exercises so that your joints have the full range of motion needed to sprint properly, including back kicks, high knees, and high knee strides. Wall recommends watchingthis video to get an idea of ​​what exercises to do.

“These exercises and exercises are twofold,” Wall said. “One is to make sure your body can meet the needs that are required of it, and the other is to make your run more efficient. Sprint is efficiency, the ability to move without getting tired so quickly. ” If you are in poor shape, you will have to use more energy than you need to, and you will not be able to move as fast.

Know When To Start Your Speed ​​Workout

If you are able to jog continuously for 20 to 30 minutes, now may be the time to start adding sprints. Wall recommends that aspiring runners start with mobility exercises, after which you do three reps of a 30-meter run at 50% effort, with some recovery time in between.

Then, when you’re done, you can move on to a long, slow run. While this sounds like a modest goal, doing this several times a week for several weeks will help you gradually build up your body’s ability for speed, after which you can start increasing the intensity.

“What you will see is that you will feel better, you will have a better understanding of how your body works, you can move more efficiently and effectively in certain directions because you have focused on some of these exercises.” said Wall. “The speed will come, but it will take a little longer.”

Once you start working up to 70% or 80% of the effort, Wall recommends reducing the number of repetitions, at least until your body adapts. When you get to the point where your body is more accustomed to sprinting, you will feel much more comfortable incorporating speed workouts.

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