Tempo. These runs are done at a faster pace – about 80% of your maximum heart rate. You want to feel challenged at the end of this run – but not totally spent. Usually tempo runs include 10 minutes of easy running for a warm up. Then the tempo part of your run for approximately 20 minutes of running. After your tempo, you want to run an easy pace for 10 minutes to cool down. These are great to start building some speed.
Fartlek. I’ll admit – fartlek is my favorite form of speedwork! The word fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish. They are bursts of faster running during the middle of your workout. There’s no set amount that you do – they are completely informal. I like to use telephone poles as guidelines. After warming up – run fast from one telephone pole to the next, then slowly to the next, then speed up the next, etc. Fartlek workouts can be fun.
Intervals. Talk to many runners and they will cringe when you mention the word intervals. Intervals are usually done on a track. They are repeated sets of fast running at a designated distance – such as 400 meters. You will warm up, do your interval, recover by running slowly, do another fast spurt, slow, etc. If you hear someone say that they are going to do 4X400 – that means that they are going to be doing 4 fast spurts at 400 meters with 400 meter recovery in between. These runs also help you to run faster and help with your breathing at a faster pace.