I have added a lot more speed to my workouts.
I had reached a point in my running for miles that, at times, running felt like a chore.
Treadmill running had reached a whole new low for me. I felt slow. I felt bad. Dare I say – I was beginning to get DEPRESSED. From running! Something had to change.
In marathon training I ran to collect miles. That was it. And it was getting boring.
So I searched. I went and looked for something to add a little spark to my workouts.
In my quest, I found workouts for Fartlek’s and a treadmill boredom blaster. Both turned out to be just what the Dr. ordered! Both workouts changed in speed, intensity, incline. I went from plugging in 6.0 mph for hours, to going uphill, going fast, holding faster speeds for a period of time. I HIIT at the track. Not only was I still getting all my weekly miles in (I shoot for 50 miles/week), I was feeling like I had completed a WORKOUT when I was done and guess what else happened?
I lost weight!
Benefits of Speed Workouts
It was not my intention to lose weight. I eat healthy. I run 50 miles a week. That’s a lot of miles! But, I had reached a weight loss plateau. Why?
1. WEIGHT LOSS!!! Speeding Up = More Calories Used
My body is used to cruise control. I step up to my start line and can cruise for hours. The same muscles are used. The same metabolic works are at play. But what happens when I add speed? My body isn’t used to this activity and has to use more calories to achieve speed. Makes sense to me!
2. Less Hours Running
Yes, I love this one. MY PLANTAR FASCIITIS LOVES THIS ONE, too. I ran on cruise control. I am finding that I am able to cover the same distance in my workouts as before, but in less time. My breathing is better. I am doing my long runs at a faster resting pace. And the less time I am out running the less time I am on my sore foot.
3. Less Plantar Fasciitis Pain
So, yeah, this is a BIG plus for me. Less time on my foot per workout, less pain. Losing weight, less pain. And I didn’t even feel like I needed to lose weight – but if it helps my foot, then great!
4. The Afterburn Effect
The faster you go, the more intense your workout, an anaerobic workout burns more fat and lasts longer. Not only is your body burning more calories during a speed or HIIT workout, but continues to burn calories hours after the workout is through.
5. Speed helps distance
One thing is for sure – I added in speed and feel like my long slow runs are just a tad faster. Not only are they faster, but I do not feel fatigued as I did before. For me, adding in some speed has definitely helped me as a distance runner.
It is important to note speed workouts are effective for weight loss when completed 2-3 times per week. My weekly routine includes 2 long distance days, 2 speed days, 1 hill workout and a day on the treadmill to tie up any loose ends. If I am using that last day just to collect miles I now find that for every mile I run, I run 400m at max speed.
In short, my speed workouts have been great. I am excited to run again. I feel more comfortable running speed. I feel like I have had a great workout after a speed workout. My distance running has improved. My foot is in less pain. And, complete added bonus, I LOST WEIGHT. Great news.
Do you find any other benefits to speed workouts? Let me know!