There are a few options for getting faster and chances are if you’ve been trying to get faster you have tried them all. You probably like one type of speed work more than all the other options. While it turns out that some types do work better than others your favorite probably has nothing to do with which one works best. You can read all about that here but today. We’re making some silly generalizations (mostly based on my limited experiences) about what your favorite type says about you as a runner and a person. I think it might be true… but it means literally nothing. Since it’s all in good fun let’s not take it too seriously and instead have a laugh but maybe consider a few things along the way.
Hills: You are the only person that likes hill repeats on the planet. Seriously you should be studied if you enjoy running up and down the same hill over and over. Or maybe you know what’s good for you and you prioritize results over comfort. I like all the things running hills does for me like the power boost, improvements in my form and endurance all in one workout. Hills do make you faster but sometimes the side benefits are even better. While I think it’s pretty normal to appreciate the outcomes from running up and down the same hill over and over actually liking it is a different story!
You are very disciplined and are very willing to do things that are good for you even though they low-key suck. You probably have a savings account and an emergency fund. You’ll pick practical over sexy or even fun pretty much all of the time. I bet you hardly if ever do anything to spoil yourself and you probably should do more of that. You’re the type of person who always buys a used car, looks at the prices at the grocery store and takes your lunch to work. Remember that having some fun and some frivolous things make life interesting too. But overall lots of us should be half as disciplined as you!
Fartlek: You my friend are an A+ individual because you clearly have your head screwed on straight. Which is to say this is my favorite type of speed work too. Jokes aside fartleks are the most fun and least structured sort of speed work. Notice I didn’t say it’s fun just that it’s more fun than the rest. If this is the sort of speed work you prefer to do or default too when a little run down that means you prioritize enjoyment over effectiveness. There’s a good chance that even if you say your goal is to get faster enjoying all the time you spend running is more important to you than a PR.
Now that we know what type or runner you are what sort of person are you. You have goals sure but you also aren’t willing to give up everything else to get there. You are a good compromiser and embrace the freedom that comes with good enough. That is most definitely not a bad thing! You could step it up a notch here and there to really get to where you want to be faster. I also bet that you constantly think about that work life balance thing and maybe even ignore notifications on your phone for a while from time to time. You’re probably very good a finding the bright side in situations and maintaining perspective when life gives you lemons.
Intervals: So hate to break it to you you might be a bit of a follower but it works for you. Running intervals means that you run all out (or at a certain very fast pace) for a certain amount of time or distance and then go slow or stop to recover. Here’s the thing you could be forgiven if you thought that intervals were the only form of speed work around. It’s what you hear about on instagram and many track workouts are structured this way. Although nothing says you have to run intervals if you’re at the track most people do and so do you. Here’s the good thing about intervals they actually work.
You might be a bit of a follower and that’s cool but you also might be missing out on other unique things you might love too. If you see everyone doing something you sort of just go along and trust that it’s the best option. You might even be on keto. But this can also make you super easy to get along with. You’re happy to talk about pretty much anything, eat anywhere and you’re down to see the latest movie. You probably know a lot about what’s popular right now and you might always be catching your friends up on the latest trends. If you’re my friend I appreciate that about you because I’m clueless about that stuff. Here’s a hot tip to expand you horizons in what ever you do go for it and try the popular thing it might very well be popular for a good reason but try one other thing too. You never know!
Tempo: You are an intense person who can’t help but doing things all out. That probably make you and people around you pretty uncomfortable on a semi-regular basis. Tempo runs are most basically defined as a run 30 seconds per mile slower than your current 5k race or at 90% of your maximal heart rate, but there are other variations. You are a bit of a black and white thinker who wants to run faster so you run fast. Here’s the thing though tempo runs at your lactate threshold aren’t even proven to work the best, but they do work so there is that! You should know though that you can get faster without feeling like you’re dying the whole time, just in case you’re interested.
You are type A and there is no getting around that, sorry. Your life may be lacking subtlety over all, think about it for a minute. You might also want to think about the saying “when you’re holding a hammer everything looks like a nail” for a while too! But you’re also super dependable, super organized and super busy. You only have one level and that’s level 10 and most of the time that works out well for you. You might want to take one hour a day, put it into your schedule and do something chill or even nothing at all. See how it goes, you never know. Because you might be at risk for burnout otherwise. When it comes to running what about taking a few runs a month where you let go of pace, distance and time and just go for fun. All the other times though feel free to train as you regularly are, those PR’s don’t stand a chance with you!
Pass: Maybe you just never do speed work and that’s cool too. If you want to get faster maybe try it but if not that’s totally fine. All sorts of runners never do speedwork for a whole lot of good reasons. Perhaps you’re totally fine just running your regular route for health reasons. Maybe you do races but you’ve got a go with the flow kind of attitude and that’s a great way to do it. Might I suggest you try a race just one time or go for a distance you’ve never done before just once. There are some pretty cool feelings involved with working a training program and accomplishing things you’ve never done before. Plus it makes you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to which is pretty neat too. Then you can go back to that regular route you like so much and really appreciate it again.
You are pretty chill overall as a person. You know yourself well and just because something is trendy or common you won’t be jumping on the trend if it doesn’t work for you. You also might be just a bit set in your ways, which is fine. But being set in your routines like that sometimes means you could be missing out on some cool stuff too. Ignoring the chatter out there is totally zen but I encourage you to maybe keep your fingertip at least near the pulse. Every once and a while try something new that’s popular. Sometimes things do seem to be everywhere because they rock. Test out a cool new show, test drive a new car model or, gasp, try on a new pair of running shoes. A nice way to grab the best of both worlds is to rock a training plan for a longer distance than you’re used to like a half once a year. PS I’m kinda a creature of habit too and love running for fun only most of the year.
Did any of this ring true for you based on your favorite or was it way off? Do you have a favorite type of speed workout? Does it ever change?