One key to being a fast runner is doing fast running workouts. Sounds simple, right? While there are a lot of other factors that play into running a personal best during a race, a huge component of it is doing fast running workouts during training.
Okay, how fast?
This largely depends on the distance of the goal race (i.e. 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, marathon). The fast running workouts for running a fast marathon will be a little different than the fast running workouts for a 5k. As a coach, I give my runners workouts ranging from 100% effort (all out sprinting as fast as possible) to “threshold runs” (a little harder than an easy run), depending on their goal race and current fitness levels.
Why it’s important to have fast running workouts
My track coach in high school used to tell me, “If you want to be a slow runner, run a lot of slow miles. If you want to be a fast runner, you need to run FAST!” This is an oversimplification of the concept, but it’s true. What he was NOT talking about was running every single mile in training as fast as possible, which will cause injuries. Simply put, there needs to be structured fast running workouts in a training plan.
What type of fast running workouts?
This depends on the goal race. For those training to run a fast 5k, 10k, or even 1/2 marathon, the workout I’m giving today is the perfect preparation! This is a great workout to do a couple times a year to compare gains in fitness. Lauren Fleshman said she has done this workout nearly every year since high school, and it’s fun for her to look back and see how certain years compare to others. If you give an honest effort, and really try your best, this workout is definitely a good gauge of how well your goal race will go!
The Michigan. Sounds scary, right?
This is called the Michigan because it’s a workout created by the coach for the University of Michigan XC team. Ha, it’s a doozy, but honestly, my training partner, Erica, and I had a lot of fun with this one. I’m going to take you through the whole workout, and share what we did, and how you, too, can run the Michigan, and implement this fast running workout into your routine!
The warm up
Begin with a dynamic stretching warm up, then run easy for 12-15 minutes. Run three 20 second “strides” (short, fast runs) with 1 minute rest between each. Grab a quick sip of water, and get ready to go!
The Meat of the Michigan
2 miles at tempo effort
1 hard 1200 meters (your effort should be about 5k race pace)
1 mile at tempo effort
1 hard 800 meters (your effort should be about 2 mile race pace)
1 mile at tempo effort
1 hard 400 (your effort should be about 1 mile race pace)
*The recovery between each is 30 seconds-1 minute of walking (I did 1 minute because #couldntbreathe ha)
My paces, and how it went
Changing speeds and having the fast sections broken up with a few short recovery walks made it manageable. Hard? Definitely. But, doable. And! Erica and I felt like total #MOMBOSSES when we finished! #winning . Below are my garmin splits. Take a look at the overall time for each interval rather than the "Avg Pace" which is a little off. I ran on a track. You can see my last 400 I really went for it! (The pace for that one should say 5:20 not 6:10...)
How to figure out YOUR paces for the Michigan.
Lucky for you, I’ve created a free PDF to help you determine your own paces for this workout. Makes it super easy!
First, find your 5k goal time on the right, and follow the line to the left to get paces for the tempo, 400, 800 and 1200 meter reps for the Michigan. If your 5k goal time is way off your current fitness level, pick paces somewhere in between the two. Easy!
Let me know how it goes!
I can’t wait to hear about you all crushing this workout. Tag me on instagram or hashtag #mskatieblazecraze (ha, you like that ?! ;) )