Running, I’m working on speed…

Happy Monday! I trust y’all had a great weekend. We held our neighborhood garage sales on Friday and Saturday and by Sunday, Mom and I were completely exhausted but the weather here was so nice that I was determined to run as much as possible.

I did manage a few early miles on Friday, a little over six miles on Saturday and then on Sunday I got up prepared to run ten but after four I felt burnt. I was on my way home when I ran into my friend and neighbor, Lori. She was just heading out and I was sort of shocked myself when I heard myself say, ‘Want some company?’

So Lori and I ran another 3 miles and I finished with a total of 7 for the day. I had a great time and while it isn’t anywhere near the amount of miles I’d like to be running, I was grateful that Lori agreed to some company because otherwise I would have ended at 4 miles and beat myself up the rest of the day.

And that is something I’ve been working on because this year I’m more focused on being a better runner, getting faster, and remaining injury free rather than just running all the miles.

Genetically speaking, my muscle makeup is probably a bit different than Shalane Flanagan’s or Desi Linden’s and that’s okay. Some people are just speedier than others but that doesn’t mean I can’t get faster. I used to always say that I was a much better endurance athlete because what I lack in speed I make up for in distance and while that may be true it doesn’t mean I can’t boost my genetics a bit.

Your body includes 3 main muscle fibers, slow twitch, intermediate fast twitch, and fast twitch. Slow twitch muscles contract slower and it takes a long time to exhaust them. Adversely, fast twitch muscles contract quickly and fatigue much quicker. Generally speaking most people have an equal amount but there have been some reports that suggest some of the best sprinters have up to 85% of fast twitch muscles and some of the best marathoners have up to 85% of slow twitch. I used to think that I had a lot more slow twitch, but I’m not so sure that’s really the case.

While you may not be able to alter the balance some scientific studies have shown that with the proper training you may be able to convert slow twitch to fast twitch just by incorporating the following training.

Agility Dot Drills
I have to admit, I had no idea what these were but this video shows you exactly how to do them and now I love them.

Sprints
Sprints are an awesome way to develop speed. I like 400 repeats or fartleks and that’s how I do sprints but if you’ve never run sprints before, here is a good tutorial on how to start.

Squats
Y’all know I love my squats. Not only do they help with speed but the benefits for your butt are worth it alone!  Seriously, they are.

Isometric Hamstring Bridge
This one is great for speed but also if you suffer from weak hips like I do, this exercise is invaluable. I do this at least 5 days a week. Here’s a great video that shows you the proper form.

Hill Sprints
Now these are my Achilles heel or hill, haha. I hate hills. I really do. I think it’s because I seriously hurt my Achilles tendon running up a hill a few years back and ever since then, I’ve hated them.

I do my best to avoid all the hills in my neighborhood and when I’m running someplace new I look at the elevation before I choose my route. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid hills and if you want to get really fast hill sprints are one of the best exercises you can do. Hill sprints can also help you to avoid injury so you really need to incorporate them.

I read this article and it helped me to get over my fear and face those hills. I still don’t feel 100% comfortable with hill sprints but I’m working on it.

So, now I’d like to hear from you.
Do you think you’re better at speed or endurance?  (My jury is still out, I used to think endurance but I can run fast and I know it..)
Do you prefer running 5K’s or marathons?  (My heart has always leaned toward marathons but lately I’ve been looking forward to some 5K’s.)

6 thoughts on “Running, I’m working on speed…

  1. I would say I am a much better endurance runner. I can run a 5 K in 20 minutes but I hate it…it hurts so much! I would much rather run a marathon, 50 miler or 100 K. I bet I’m 100% slow twitch fibers.

  2. When I had a trainer, he had me do the agility dots essentially (I was a little more compact in area). I co do those easily. I need to work on exercises other than running. I’m so lazy about it!

    I’m better at speed but not really good at either! 🙂

    No marathons for me! 5k it is. I really think I’d prefer 10 milers if they were offered here.

      • I’m not sure we’ve ever had one here either. I just know that at mile 10 in a half, I’m done 🙂

        There’s one in Central FL (Viera) that I want to do next year due to the medal.

        Thanks to you, I did some extra training today!

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