Improve Running Speed - Repetition Training

Posted by | November 09, 2014 | Training | No Comments

As long distance runners we clearly know the importance of our long runs and getting our running mileage high.  Introduce into this mileage equation a very different type of running:  Repetition Training.  The purpose of repetition training is to improve running speed and running economy.  This type of training is ideally added to the second half of the base training phase, once mileage has been increased for several weeks (4-6 weeks).  It is not too taxing, as it involves short bouts of high speed, with long recovery times to allow for full recovery.  Repetition training is largely anaerobic, as it is short and intense.  It is valuable, yes, even for marathoners, as it teaches the body how to run fast.  According to Jack Daniel’s, “you recruit the exact muscle fibers that you need for economical running.”  By running at this quicker pace, your race pace will end up feeling more comfortable.  These workouts are ideal to start with before the more intense and longer interval workouts.  The overall mileage spent at the high intensity is low and it allows your body to start working at a quicker speed without pushing yourself to complete exhaustion.

After several weeks of building up my mileage, I am adding in one day a week of repetition training.  Following a workout I feel great, having pushed my body to faster speeds.

Determine Repetition Pace

Use a previous race performance: enter the distance in the first column and your race time in the second column.  Press calculate, then in the chart below, select “Training”.  You will then receive a list of paces for various types of training from Easy to Repetition training.  The values you are looking for are in the very last row:  Repetition training paces. For example, if  you ran a marathon in 3:00:00, your repetition training paces for a 400m would be 01:22 and for a 200m, 0:41.

Repetition Workouts

Now that you know your individual target paces based on your fitness, you can set out on a great speed workout!

After a solid warmup of several kilometers (aim for minimum 15 minute warmup) you can begin with your speed workout.  Repetitions are short.  Recovery between reps is full – rest until   you feel fully recovered.  A guideline for recovery is to rest four times as long as you work;  part of this recovery period should consist of easy jogging.  This differs from interval training, where recovery periods are shorter.

These workout suggestions are based on Daniels’ Running Formula.

Workout 1: 

5 to 6 sets 0f ( 200m, 200m, 400m)

– full recoveries following each rep (each 200 and 400)

Workout 2:

5 – 6 x 400m, followed by 10 x 200m – full recoveries

Workout 3: 

16 – 20 x 200m – full recoverieslong_run

Workout 4: 

8 – 10 x 400m – full recoveries

Workout 5: 

6 x 200m, 6 – 8 x 400m – full recoveries.

Cool down well, after your repetition workout.  A successful repetition workout consists of steady paces for all reps . You should be able to maintain the same pace for each rep, as you are fully recovering in between.  At the end of the workout you should feel like you could have kept going for a few more!  You should feel tired, but not completely exhausted.  You will rather feel exhilarated at having run quicker then possibly ever before.

Watch out, with this type of training you will feel new speed in those legs of yours!


Janine Moffett

About Janine Moffett

I am a mother of three incredible children, work full time as an instructor therapist, and love to run. I have run 11 marathons, with a personal best of 2:57. This past April I ran my third Boston Marathon. I love challenges and began exploring the world of triathlons in 2014. I completed my first half Ironman at Muskoka in fall 2014 and came first in my age group. Now I am taking on the challenge of a Full Ironman, which I am planning for September, 2015. I believe we need to keep trying new things and embrace life to the fullest. I hope I can provide inspiration and insights to others.

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