In the introduction post, I've introduced the dichotomy of endurance running - the focus on aerobic base through low intensity and high volume versus speed, biomechanics and enabling maximum oxygen exchange at high intensities with relatively lower training volumes.
However, the answer is not a simple one, and the application of both approaches is important to your running regardless of your training history.
Learn how to run fast first, then explore different training paces.
Why run fast?
In a distance race, even something as short as one mile, you will never be hitting top speed. However, this is exactly why you have to increase your maximum speed. If you are able to run a 100m in 12 seconds and you're looking to run a 10km in under 40 minutes, the pace you have to sustain is only half as fast as you sprint. If you can run fast, your effort (or run economy) is minimized.
Biomechanics are crucial to speed. To train your speed, you will have to improve your biomechanics, which will lead to a lower risk of injury.
In short, speed training involves increasing your potential for maximum velocity, and trains your muscles to fire faster. This leads to a much more efficient run when you have slowed things down.
Here are three components of speed that must be trained.
1. Turnover rate - the faster your feet can cycle through (RPM) the faster you'll go.
2. Force generation - this really has to do with strength. Every time you touch the ground, you are applying great amounts of force into it, so you can propel yourself forward.
3. Range of motion and biomechanics - you have to be able to cover a lot of ground each time you are in the air.
Stay tuned for ways to improve your running speed. Sign up for the mailing list if you don't want to miss any updates.
Here's Usain Bolt - he covers the 100m in just 41 strides. That's almost 2.5m per stride.