Benefits of Speed Workouts
By Ryan Light, Running/Anxiety Coach
If you’re anything like me when someone brings up the words Speed Workouts do you cringe too? I use to hate, hate speed workouts, but after analyzing why as runners we need to incorporate such workouts to get the most out of training, I learned to love them. As my friends over at www.fitday.com point out, “certain enzymes become abundant within the body each time sprinting occurs. These enzymes, along with normal cell functions, help the body store more calories and energy within the muscle tissue rather than the fat storage within the body. Through this process, the body steadily depletes all of its fat storages that normally account for weight gain.” My intention to incorporate speed work into my training was not to lose weight, but I’ll take it as long as it also builds muscle as well. And guess what it does! You see my doing speed workouts, especially tempo runs with increase your VO2max which in laments terms is how much oxygen you produce during a workout is called and it determines your ability to sustain long workouts at a hard pace. By increasing your Vo2Max you will be able to run harder for longer. And what runner doesn’t want to do that?
In a latest speed workout I ran a 30 sec with a 3min rest for 17 times. You can see that I ran hitting my max heart rate each time and then made sure that I fully recovered after each session. This is important that you recover so that you not only give yourself a rest but your body at this time stops the lactic acid that you muscles secrete due to the increased blood flow.
What I found amazing is in that same speed workout I burned almost 800 calories with 33% of those calories coming from fat. My running index e.g. VO2Max increased as well. Interesting enough if you look at my average heart rate it was only 121 so, overall it was not a “hard” speed workout.
Another speed workout (tempo run) I did the day after my track workout. It was a 50 min total run with a 40 min tempo pace.
Now what’s interesting about this speed workout (tempo run) is that if you look at the numbers in mileage and caloric burn they are fairly the same. However, if you look at the types of calories burned on 15% of these types of calories was a fat burn. What you will also notice is that my running index (VO2Max) went up by two. I have to say that this speed workout is much more difficult than the interval workouts, but if you want to increase your VO2Max these types of speed workouts are a must!
Doing a speed workout is a must if you want to increase your endurance and strength. Depending on what your goals are losing weight, PR, marathon, or general fitness I would highly urge you to incorporate speed workouts into your training regiments. The benefits far exceed the work!
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