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One Tip Wednesday: Fast is as Fast Does

Fast is as Fast Does


Hey guys,

So, is speed work just weird or is it me? I mean, I’m just not a super fast person by nature. It’s not in my DNA. Hurling myself around the track at anything faster than my “happy trails” pace can feel awkward. Why? Because I don’t do it that regularly.

Except when I want to get faster.

If I plan to run a race faster than my last, I have to practice running faster. Sounds easy enough, right? Oh, but how do I motivate to do that? And what am I supposed to start with? The words “speed work” sound intimidating. Hence, today’s tip about getting you going with Fartleks. (Plus, funny word to say! Your kids will love it, trust me.)

the TIP: Fast is as fast does: the Fartlek made simple


In order to get faster, you have to run faster. This is what training specificity is all about.
Let’s prep:

  • Make sure you have a good aerobic base of running before you start any speed work (this means 300-500 miles of regular, weekly running.)
  • A dynamic warm up of 10 minutes before your running day. Here is a quick video that nails it.
  • A good warm up of 10 minutes of easy running before you try your Fartlek speed work.

Let’s do it:

  • Swedish for “speedplay” a Fartlek is simply picking a point in the distance and running faster to it.
  • So, after your initial warm up of 10 minutes or so, pick a point ahead of you (like the next stop sign a half a block away) and run to it at what you would consider 80-90 percent of your max effort, then do easy jogging before the next one.
  • Shoot for 3-4 of these to start, once a week, within your regular workout.

That’s it! Just pretend you’re 10 years old and your cousin, Jimmy, is chasing you with his T-Rex Halloween costume around the block. (Maybe skip the screaming and arm flailing. It was cute when I was 10. Now? Not so much.)

the WHY:

  • Speed work boasts many benefits, namely, it can help you build more power, be a more efficient runner metabolically, and that results in faster running times.
  • It can also make you feel more kick-butt about your running, especially when you combine a Fartlek with a visualization about crossing the finish line with speed and strength.
  • It helps you get speed work into your running schedule without the logistics of mapping out a track work out.

Bam! Simple, but so powerful. Now go put this fun little word on your calendar each week and get ‘er done! Want to get these tips in your cozy inbox? Sign up here.

I LOVE hearing from you. Have you done speed work before? Are you a trail runner who isn’t sure about doing speed work? Shoot me a comment below.

2 thoughts on “One Tip Wednesday: Fast is as Fast Does

  1. I don’t run 300 – 500 miles per week. You must me a marathon runner. I’m more of a 5 mile trail runner would the same apply for the speed work?

  2. Hi Sheri – Sorry I missed your comment somehow! I didn’t phrase that well. I meant it to be a running base of 300-500 miles total, over time, would be a good base before moving on to speedwork. In other words, don’t start speedwork when you are taking up running. A 5-mile trail run is awesome, ain’t it? xo Laura

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