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 Leg Speed
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RunnerXC

233 Posts

Posted - March 31 2009 :  22:39:50  Show Profile
So, i'm running some decent time now... (Last 3 races sub 18) and I would like to work on leg speed so that hopefully I can break 17 by the end of the summer..

Any suggestions on workouts and such??

Thanks in advance!

DMRuns85

564 Posts

Posted - April 01 2009 :  06:33:11  Show Profile
First pick a race or two 3-5 months from now that you are going to attempt it at. I find focusing my efforts works wonders.

As far as workouts go, short stuff. For example 10-16 x 400m @ 5k GP - 20 seconds or so with rest of 1 minute or what you run. So for example if I want to run 5:00/mile for 5k I will run these around 68-70 sec each (or faster near the end). Mix it up with some latter workouts, and fartleks, I like 30-60-90s (30 on 30 off 60 on 60 off 90 on, aka Kenyan Surge Drills), a number of sets of these during a longer (10-12 mile) run will help work on shifting gears during races but you need to keep the rest at normal run pace not a recovery pace. As a general rule of thumb I normally do one speed (intervals adding to the distance of my race or a little over) workout and one strength workout (hills, fartlek, tempo, long interval) a week.

As far as millage I would not be afraid to keep that on the high end for yourself until a week or two before the 5k.

Anyway, just some ideas as I have no clue what your training is like.

Got endorphins?
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ghost of platter

362 Posts

Posted - April 01 2009 :  08:38:37  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by RunnerXC

So, i'm running some decent time now... (Last 3 races sub 18) and I would like to work on leg speed so that hopefully I can break 17 by the end of the summer..

Any suggestions on workouts and such??

Thanks in advance!



DMR gave you some good workouts.
You and he may not be talking about the same thing though, and many runners mix-up terms, and misunderstand what they need to improve.

The workout DMR provided are "speed-endurance" type of workouts. They work on sub-maximum speed, and the ability to train the energy systems that enable that type of running. (BTW, it may be exactly what you asking to improve)
But, leg-speed, as accepted by most good coaches, is a combination of "leg power" and "leg turnover". A good combination of those two and you have "RAW SPEED" or leg speed.

DMR's workouts will be working race pace turnover and energy systems more than they will "Raw Speed".(but as I wrote, he may be interpreting your question better than I have, as many runners use the term leg-speed in a different way than I do)

To improve "raw speed" you need to do drills, sprints, short hills all less than 20 seconds each repeat, with significant recovery (so you are not limited by energy system limitations).

Many runners over-look or under-value this aspect of racing training, and subsequently the associated work required to improve their propulsive ability.

G.O.P.
""It looks way easier on TV""
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lkizz

1001 Posts

Posted - April 01 2009 :  09:59:22  Show Profile
I got time for 20 seconds.

How many? and are they combined with a 'normal' run or other session? You also mentioned in the past that the cool down phase is over rated, as lactic acid leaves at its own pace regardless. What about warm up before these drills?

Thanks
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DMRuns85

564 Posts

Posted - April 01 2009 :  10:07:24  Show Profile
I agree with GOP.

Got endorphins?
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RunnerXC

233 Posts

Posted - April 01 2009 :  19:58:19  Show Profile
DMRuns85,

In response to my training...

I usually do workouts 2x a week and distance runs the other 4-5. I am currently logging in 35-40 miles a wk
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SonOfRoxy

478 Posts

Posted - April 02 2009 :  15:45:25  Show Profile
I think GOP has it nailed for absolute leg speed.

I've got another workout that you might like. Its a miler workout so its designed for a faster pace. Bannister supposedly used this workout to test his readiness for his record attempts. The workout is 8 x 400 with rest of 2 to 2.5 times your rep. If run at the right effort the rest is slightly less than full and you end with the last lap feeling almost like race effort. This workout has always given me a pretty good indicator of what I can run for a mile and it should add some speed to your 5K. Another variation would be to run 200s at your 800m pace.
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JF

2696 Posts

Posted - April 03 2009 :  00:00:22  Show Profile
I've always been a big fan of getting on the track and running 400s. When in doubt, run 400s, with a 200 or 400 meter rest in between. I'm not very scientific, but I do know that training fast will equate to racing fast. If you do your 400s at your desired race pace (or a bit faster) which seems to be 5:27 pace---to get you a 16:59 5K---you would need to average about 81-82 seconds per quarter over several 400s to achieve that goal. If you could do eight 400s in 77-79 seconds with good form and good effort, that sub-17 should be attainable. I always used the 5 second rule. If I wanted to run a 5:00 pace (75s), I tried to average 70-71 for my eight 400s.

I would try the time tested 8 x 400 with 400 meter rest in between for starters and see how that goes. The faster and more comfortable you feel doing these 400s, the better your speed will be in races.

And, after that, you can introduce other intervals and fartleks like DMR and GOP suggested.

Doing speed/track work is always a key ingredient in lowering the 5K times. The 5K is a tough race. Running 18 might feel easy, but running 17:40 is a LOT tougher, but you can do it. You meaure progrss in seconds, nit chunks of seconds.

Good luck.
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DMRuns85

564 Posts

Posted - April 03 2009 :  06:23:39  Show Profile
What GOP suggested should come BEFORE any interval training.

Got endorphins?
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JF

2696 Posts

Posted - April 03 2009 :  07:25:32  Show Profile
I agree and was assuming that when I put my two cents in. The best way to get injured is to start doing interval work without "prepping" for it first.

Another good one from my high school track coach.

16 x 400:
The odd ones are done at goal pace (example 72-74 seconds)
The even ones are done at tempo pace (87-90 seconds)
400 recovery in between.

In the end, you're doing 32 total 400s, so bring a picnic basket. Of course, you could also cut the workout in half, but by doing the 90 second 400s, you're working on endurance and speed, and building strength. And, he (coach) did run three sub 2:40 Boston Marathons, for what it's worth.
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SonOfRoxy

478 Posts

Posted - April 03 2009 :  16:51:46  Show Profile
To correct my earlier post, Bannister's workout was 10 x 440 with 2 mins rest. He was only able to average under 60 one time, just before breaking 4 mins.
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RunninFast

34 Posts

Posted - April 08 2009 :  12:37:46  Show Profile
If you are really looking to increase leg speed on regular pavement/streets you are going to have to look into confusing those muscles. Although people make fun of p90x, muscle CONFUSION is the best way to increase leg speed...

Although the other suggestions are good, what you really want to look into is TRAIL RUNNING. A light jog there is all you need to wake up/enduce those BALANCING MUSCLES for going over streams, rocks, frogs, etc. After a few weeks of this you'll be surprised at how much your pavement speed increases.

p90x has done wonders for me in terms of overall body strength...I'm now able to run down North Street with CONFIDENCE without fear of being chased down by any wrecking crews.

Have a good Easter everyone!
R.F.
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RunnerXC

233 Posts

Posted - April 17 2009 :  13:59:33  Show Profile
16x400 every 2:30.

So if i run one in 1:10, i get 1:20 off before the next one..

Did all of them btwn 1:09-1:16...

Felt really good after the workout was over...

Still around 35-40 miles a week.

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snshugs

5 Posts

Posted - May 12 2009 :  16:28:25  Show Profile
For better leg turnover (speed) I liked to do downhill runs. Actually, some of the best workouts I had were uphill/downhills. Start with an uphill that crests and then begins downhill, so your uphill momentum picks up at the end of your interval. I think the hill on the Parkside/198 area of the Delaware Park circle would probably work fairly well.
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