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Running Workouts to Increase Speed

Training Programs for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Runners
  -- By Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer & Marathon Runner
Want to run faster? This program will help increase the pace that you're able to maintain while running. If you're new to running or exercise, start with the Beginner program. As you progress, slowly increase your time and eventually move to the Intermediate and Advanced workouts. Because this is a general program, you may need to adjust the recommended speeds, intensities, and times to suit your fitness level.

If you have access to a treadmill, focus on the pace guidelines (left column), working at your own intensity level. If you run outdoors or do not have access to any tools to measure your pace, then use the intensity guidelines (right column) as a guide for how fast or slow to run. (Find a full intensity chart and explanation below the workouts.)

Beginner Speed Program
 What to do  For how long  Intensity (1-10)
 Warm up at 3.5 mph pace  5 minutes  3.5
 Jog at 5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Jog at 5.3 mph pace  2 minutes  6
 Jog at 5.7 mph pace  5 minutes  7
 Jog at 5.9 mph pace  3 minutes  7.5
 Jog at 5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Cool down  5 minutes  3.5
 Total Workout Time:  24 minutes  

Intermediate Speed Program
 What to do  For how long  Intensity (1-10)
 Warm up at 5 mph pace  5 minutes  3.5
 Jog at 5.5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Jog at 5.8 mph pace  2 minutes  6
 Jog at 6.2 mph pace  5 minutes  7
 Jog at 6.4 mph pace  3 minutes  7.5
 Jog at 5.5 mph pace  4 minutes  5
 Jog at 5.8 mph pace  2 minutes  6
 Jog at 6.2 mph pace  2 minutes  7
 Jog at 6.4 mph pace  5 minutes  7.5
 Jog at 5.5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Cool down  5 minutes  3.5
 Total Workout Time:  37 minutes  

Advanced Speed Program
What to do For how long Intensity (1-10)
Warm up at 5.5 mph pace 5 minutes 3.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 2 minutes 5
Jog at 6.3 mph pace 2 minutes 6
Jog at 6.7 mph pace 5 minutes 7
Jog at 6.9 mph pace 3 minutes 7.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 4 minutes 5
Jog at 6.3 mph pace 2 minutes 6
Jog at 6.7 mph pace 5 minutes 7
Jog at 6.9 mph pace 3 minutes 7.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 4 minutes 5
Jog at 6.3 mph pace 2 minutes 6
Jog at 6.7 mph pace 5 minutes 7
Jog at 6.9 mph pace 3 minutes 7.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 2 minutes 5
Cool down 5 minutes 3.5
Total Workout Time: 52 minutes  

An Explanation of Using the RPE Method to Measure Intensity
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) may be the most versatile method to measure exercise intensity for all age groups. Using this method is simple, because all you have to do is estimate how hard you feel like you’re exerting yourself during exercise. RPE is a good measure of intensity because it is individualized—it’s based on your current fitness level and overall perception of exercise. The scale ranges from 1 to 10, allowing you to rate how you feel physically and mentally at a given intensity level.
An RPE between 5 and 7 is recommended for most adults. This means that at the height of your workout, you should feel you are working "somewhat hard" to "hard."