How Many Times a Week Should I Do a Speed Run?

speedwork in running

If you decide to run regularly and want to improve your results, you should know that the key to increasing speed and endurance depends on the amount of stress and recovery training. In this article, you will find out how many times a week to do speedwork running?

It is very important to alternate between speed training and recovery running in your training plan. But how to do it correctly?

First, you need to know that there are different types of speed training, which you will learn about below.

Speed Workouts to Develop VO2max

VO2max is not just a number on a running watch, but an indicator that corresponds to the maximum amount of oxygen that the body can consume per kilogram of the body per minute at maximum load. This metric is considered to be key in determining the degree of an athlete’s training.

VO2max is developed mainly by intervals of running training to the maximum. Intervals for the development of VO2max should be performed short in distance. For long-distance runners, this is 200 m, 400 m in marathon training 800 m. Running interval sessions is most convenient on the track.

Between speed intervals, the rest should usually be about 2 minutes of jogging (or 200m), but the duration depends on the level of training and the training cycle.

Use our running pace calculator to train properly and show the best result in the race.

Intervals Speedwork

Speed Endurance Workouts

The second type of speed training aims to develop speed endurance. Such trainings allow you to train the ability to maintain a high speed for a long time when running long distances. For training speed endurance use:

  • interval sessions.
  • fartlek.
  • progressive running.

Long interval sessions

The training includes long intervals at the anaerobic threshold. This is the maximum speed that a runner can maintain for a long time.

The duration and number of segments depends on the level of training and the stage of preparation and can vary from 1 k to 3 mi (ca. 5 kilometers), and the rest between segments can be jogging or walking 200 m (about two minutes).

It is important that between speed intervals the runner has time to recover well and lower the heart rate.

Sessions for developing speed endurance can be the same or different, for example, 7 times 1 k or 3-4 times 2-3 mi.

Fartlek

Variable pace run: if you run it in free mode, then the runner, right in the process of training, determines by his feelings when to accelerate and when to slow down. Usually, the coach prescribes the number of repetitions and the length of the segments in the fartlek plan.

The difference with normal intervals is that in the fartlek, fast segments are done at the aerobic threshold, and recovery ones are not so slow.

Fartlek with several types of paces includes easy running and running to the maximum, but such workouts are rarely given.

Progressive running or negative split running

Running with smooth acceleration. For example, for each next mile, you need to accelerate 10-15 seconds per mile until you reach the anaerobic threshold level pace. Often such workouts are done on days of long running. You can prepare a run with a negative split using our calculator.

Tempo run

Pace workouts are usually at the target race pace and slightly higher. For example, for a 10k run, your pace must be above your anaerobic threshold, but for a marathon, your pace must be below your anaerobic threshold.

Such tempo run workouts can be quite long, averaging 5 miles (ca. 8 kilometers).

Tempo running workout

How many times a week should you do speed training?

During the base period of training or at the beginning of the running path, one speed workout per week is enough.

In normal mode, two speed workouts per week are enough, of course, if there are at least 5 workouts per week and one of them is long.

During peak periods, there may be three speed works per week, but the most common number is two. Even pro runners rarely do three hard speed works a week.


Summing up, you need to understand that speed training, to improve your running pace, only works in tandem with recovery running. It is important to maintain a balance between volume and intensity, not to overload yourself and have time to rest.

Frequently Asked Questions about Speed Work in Running
Why do you need speed training?
To improve your performance, you must perform specific speed running workouts.
What are and what speed training gives?
There are two main types of speed running workouts:
🟥 Speed Workouts to Develop VO2max
🟥 Speed Endurance Workouts
How many times a week should you do speed training?
During the basic training period 1 time per week, during the main training period 2 speed workouts

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Why do you need speed training?
To improve your performance, you must perform specific speed running workouts.
What are and what speed training gives?
There are two main types of speed running workouts:
🟥 Speed Workouts to Develop VO2max
🟥 Speed Endurance Workouts
How many times a week should you do speed training?
During the basic training period 1 time per week, during the main training period 2 speed workouts