QT: Using Strava Segments to Mix Up Your Speed Workouts

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Speed workouts are something that many runners spend too much time over-analyzing.

At least in my (expert) opinion.

That's True

Whether it’s an interval/repeat workout, a tempo run, hill repeats, or whatever other form of running torture floats your boat, they all move the needle for your fitness.

More or less.

Do the Workouts You Like

As we’ve talked about before, there really isn’t one universal “best” speed workout for runners.

From where I sit, the best speed workouts are the ones that you can best execute.

More than likely, the ones you execute well are also the ones you kind of like doing.

So do those.

It really is that simple.

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A New Workout to Try

I’m not going to lie, I don’t like doing speed workouts.

I used to love them, but these days I’m not the biggest fan.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m sure it has at least a little something to do with my B- personality.

To be clear, I’m not opposed to dropping the hammer.

There is something a little primal about just going hard and feeling the burn and the struggle to breathe after a hard interval.

I think, for me, the struggle is in the organization of the workouts.

A set number of interval repeats?

A steady push for a few miles?

Hill repeats?

I don’t mind a good hard effort here or there. Or a hill repeat.

Tempo efforts can get in the sea, but formulaic speed sessions just don’t get me excited.

So I don’t do them.

Simple as.

Even if I know I should.

Are Fartleks the Answer?


I am definitely a fan of fartlek workouts.

Go hard for a bit. Recover for a bit.

Go hard for longer. Recover for longer.

Mix. Match. Rinse. Repeat.

Fartlek runs are solid workouts for us B- folks, as far as I’m concerned.

Except when they get formulaic.

Since we ended up in GA, I’ve probably done more fartlek workouts than any other type of workout.

To the point where my fartlek workout almost isn’t a fartlek workout.

I do the same intervals at the same points on the same route and call it a fartlek.

This workout clearly isn’t a standard repeat workout, as every segment is a different length.

But this method of fartleking (is that a word?) hardly embraces the spirit of speed play. Of having fun. Of running as the spirit moves you.

Maybe I need to get back to the freedom that fartleking provides, but for now I think I may have found something that works even better for me…

Strava Segments as Workouts

I’m not a big Strava segment guy, at least not historically.

But I recently stumbled across a couple of Strava segments in our neighborhood, and a few weeks ago I randomly decided to throw down on one of them to see how measured up.

I ended up as the 2nd fastest time on this particular segment.

I found another segment, raced that one, and was on top of the leaderboard.

For like 3 days until someone else one-upped me.

Anyway, earlier this week I decided to do a Strava segments speed workout.

No need to program anything into my watch or try and remember to hit the lap button at certain points.

Just head out for a run, know where a few segments start/stop, and throw down.

I gotta say, I’m a fan.

It’s one thing, for me, to try and hammer a certain distance just to push myself.

It’s another thing completely when there is the slightest hint of competition.

Still No Perfect Speed Workout

As I said earlier, there is no “one-size-fits-all” perfect speed workout for every runner.

Even the Strava segments workout.

If you like speed repeats? Keep hammering speed repeats!

Prefer the grind of a tempo run? Grind away!

But if you’re looking for a bit of variety in your workouts, with a hint of competition, you might want to look up the Strava segments in your area.

If it’s not for you? No worries.

But if you find you’re able to push just a little harder and have a little more fun with your speed workout in the process?

Well then, you might have just found the speed workout for you.

Using local Strava segments as speed workouts can be a fun workout! #runchat Click To Tweet

Have You Ever Chased the Top Spot on a Strava Segment Leaderboard?

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