All runners, no matter your pace or your preferred race distance, can benefit from doing regular speed work.
There are a number of physiological benefits of doing speed work, but that doesn’t mean you have to enjoy doing speed work.
I really hate doing speed work.
But I keep doing it, because of the benefits and because the goals I have for my running “career” include me getting faster.
And let’s be honest, if you want to get faster you’ve got to run faster.
So I keep doing my speed work, and that includes doing some of my least favorite speed workouts as well.
My Least Favorite Speed Workouts
As much as I dislike speed work in general, there are definitely different levels of misery that I experience based on what the workout entails.
Here are the 4 speed workouts that make me want to just stay in bed and skip that day’s workout.
4. Hill Repeats-I actually like running hill repeats as a tempo run or steady state run, but I hate running hills for speed work because the focus is on running hard up and either walking down or running back at a very easy pace. When races have an uphill, the almost always have a downhill, so it’s vital that runners learn how to run downhill effectively. So my dislike of hills when it comes to speed work really has nothing to do with the difficulty of running the hills, and everything to do with the design of the workouts.
3. 3, 2, 1 x 4-This is a workout we do too often, and it involves running hard for 3 minutes, recovery jog for 3 minutes, hard 2 min, recovery 2 min, hard 1 min, recovery 1 min, and then repeating that “set” three more times! I just hate that the harder I run, the less recovery time I get. When you finish that 1 min sprint, it feels like there’s no rest at all before the next round starts!
2. 20 x 1 minute-The lack of an end point kills me with this workout! When I know how far I’m going, mentally I have a finish line to get to. When I’m just running until the watch beeps, that minute seems to go on forever!
1. 400 m Repeats-Easily my least favorite speed workout, because if you’re doing it right, it’ll kill you. Running a hard 1/4 mile, and then repeating it over and over, is just brutal. Admittedly, this workout is good for you, but it’s brutal.
If you want to improve as a runner, there’s no question that you need to do speed work on a regular basis.
So as much as I hate these workouts, I’ll keep doing them because they are good for me.
And who knows, maybe someday I’ll learn to like those 400 m repeats. After all, coffee and beer were both acquired tastes…
What are Your Least Favorite Speed Workouts? Why?