How Do I Get Ready for Speedwork Again?

A fellow runner is coming back from injury and asked for some input on how to get back into workouts after a bit of a layoff. It’s a great question and one that I face as an athlete at the end of the off-season and as a coach when we transition from summer mileage to in-season workouts. I don’t know how others feel, but there is little more daunting about those first workouts back. Despite the fact that an underwhelming workout doesn’t mean anything, there can be SO MUCH PRESSURE. These two workouts are designed to take the pressure off. One has no prescribed recovery time; you go when you’re ready to go. The other is just time based; when time is up, you’re done running hard and jogging back down the hill.

Caveat: If you are coming off of a long layoff, your first step should be to add striders back in to the end of your run. Aim for 4 to 6 at 90% pace and good form. Once you’ve done those for a week or two, you’re ready for the next step back towards the following workouts.

3,2,1 Rust Buster

Packard Repeats: This is named after the workout we do on the First Day of School every fall on a hill near the high school. Find a hill that is about a quarter mile long and after a warmup, alternate between 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 90 seconds hard up with a jogging return. Aim to do three sets (9 minutes of hard work). The benefits of this workout? Because you’re running uphill, it encourages good leg turnover and begins to strengthen your quads, two key elements for successful speedwork.

What workouts do you use to get back into the swing of things? Do you do strides regularly? (Hint, you should!)

P.S. Welcome back Fox!

2 thoughts on “How Do I Get Ready for Speedwork Again?

  1. foxrunsfast

    Haha – Thanks for the shout-out!!! Happy to be back, but nervous too! I just want to make sure I stay healthy. Thanks so much for the great ideas. I think I’ll do striders tomorrow to ease in and then try one of your workouts next week! I like the sound of that Rut Buster one! Thanks again for the advice – looking forward to easing back into it! 🙂

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  2. darkwave00

    I have an advantage, in that I train with a team that has different pace groups. When I’m coming back after a layoff, I do my first few workouts with a pace group that’s a bit slower than my norm, tagging along at the end of their pack (so I don’t pull them out too fast). Then I bump it up, moving up from group to group.

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