Summer is the ideal time to go to the nearest track for a speed workout. Speed workouts not only build up leg speed, they push our heart rates to the limit, expand lung capacity, and provide us with that psychological edge we need during the latter stages of a race.
No matter what your age, ability level, or speed may be, I have a terrific speed workout that is quick, concise, and easy to do. (It's still painful), but it IS easy to do.
So, let's talk about 300s.
Jog a warmup mile or so, make sure you stretch before you begin the workout.
You are going to run a set of fast 300 meter intervals on the track.
Let's say you run a 5K race at an 8-minute per mile pace. That breaks down to 2-minutes for each 400-meter segment. Since 300 meters is 3/4 of 400-meters, your goal should be to run your 300s in less than 1:30. (That's a lot of math for me, but I think I got it right)
Now, here's the important component. Run that 300 meters, check and clear your watch, and jog the final 100 meters on the track. Do not stop. Restrict walking to a minimum.
Keep in mind, the objective of a speed workout is to NOT allow your heart rate to drop to a resting level. You want to keep it elevated to achieve the maximum benefit.
The number of repetitions is up to you. I would suggest no less than four, and no more than ten. Your last 300 should be as fast or faster than the first.
Jog for a mile as a warm down, and you have completed an excellent summertime workout.
Do your speed workouts in the middle of the week, and allow yourself three days before you race. If I have a race on Sunday, I run my speed workout no later than Wednesday. Weekends should be reserved for long runs or races.
Turn in a few 300s this summer and watch your race times plummet in the Fall.