Any ideas on workouts or exercises for improving speed on the field?

I say "on the field" because targeting a specified distance (40yd, 100m, etc) can lead to an emphasis on a particular start or technique.

Some examples:

  • Running sprints (40yd or other)
  • Squatting weight or other lifts
  • Learning to lean when accelerating to create better shin angles
  • Etc
  • Wanted to create new tags "sprinting" and "speed," but I can't because I don't have enough reputation...
    – Josh G
    Feb 15 '12 at 20:46
  • 1
    Thanks, @corsiKa. This question is related to improving top speed over short distances. Useful for almost all field sports (soccer, football, baseball, etc).
    – Josh G
    Feb 17 '12 at 20:48

If you run 10km++ you can focus on three kinds of running:


Do 1 minute at a high pace (70% of max?) and then 30 secs of slow running. Then, increase your high pace with 0.2kmh. Do this until you fall off the threadmill. The session should be 30 minutes so don't start off with too high pace.

Lactate threshold

Longer runs with variations in pace just over and just under your lactate threshold pace. Let's say 10 minutes on each. Your lactate threshold should be around your half marathon pace, maybe a 25km run. And then your two paces should be 0.7kmh over and under this pace. This is very important for pushing your threshold.

Long easy runs

Just relax on these sessions but make sure they are at least 90 minutes

  • 1
    Why do you want to do Lactate Threshold and LSR for sprint training? Doesn't that "enhance" the wrong types of muscles? Feb 16 '12 at 8:11
  • if this is all about sprint training I wouldnt go for lactate, not at all. Josh didn't say what distance. I may have misread the question
    – Martin
    Feb 16 '12 at 9:13
  • Not to worry... He did say 40yd, 100m... I would still do the intervals, though Feb 16 '12 at 9:35
  • btw, I saw from other questions that you were competing in marathons. In that case I would definitely go for lactate threshold training
    – Martin
    Feb 16 '12 at 9:44
  • And I do :-) Using Jack Daniels work: coacheseducation.com/endur/jack-daniels-june-00.htm Feb 16 '12 at 10:01

Certain types of training sessions can improve running speed:

  • Interval running
  • Fartlek running
  • Hill running

Basically going for high quality / high intensity sessions will do much more to improve your speed than lots of junk miles, i.e. long, slow runs (assuming that you want to target speed over a relatively short distance, e.g. 100m - 1/2 marathon).

Examples of running interval session plans (from my running club's website at http://www.serpentine.org.uk/pages/tuesday_threshold_sessions.html):

  • 2 sets of 10 ( 1min @ 10k pace; 1 min @ tempo pace; continuous running); 2 mins recovery
  • 2x 5 min (50 secs); 2 x 4 mins (40 secs); 2 x 3 mins (30 secs); 2 x 2 mins (20 secs) all at LT pace
  • 12 x 600m @ LT pace; 40 secs recovery
  • 6 x 1 mile @ LT pace pace; 60 secs recovery
  • 2 sets of 10 ( 1min @ 10k pace; 1 min @ tempo pace; continuous running); 2 mins recovery
  • 2 x 5 min (50 secs); 2 x 4 mins (40 secs); 2 x 3 mins (30 secs); 2 x 2 mins (20 secs) all at LT pace; 4 mins rest; then 1 mile as fast as possible
  • 12 x 600m @ LT pace; 30 secs recovery
  • 6 x 1 mile @ 10k pace pace; 90 secs recovery

Note that these sessions are designed to improve speed at races between 10K and marathon distance.

  • You are saying that intervals and fartleks will increase top speed? What might these intervals look like?
    – Josh G
    Feb 15 '12 at 22:57
  • Both posts have suggested intervals, but I'm interested in more specifics. For top speed improvements, do you suggest 10 seconds at 100% effort, 20 seconds of walking? 10-10? 10 sprint, 20 at light jog? Other?
    – Josh G
    Feb 17 '12 at 20:46

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