Should I Try to Improve My Distance or Speed?

New runners are often confused about setting speed and distance goals. If you are a beginning runner, you may wonder if you should first improve your distance or if you should train to be faster. The short answer: train for distance first.

It is best to start by building a base of strength. That means that you first increase your aerobic capacity. Increase your mileage to make longer runs more comfortable. As your endurance increases, your speed also improves.

Once you've established some strength and endurance to go long distances, you can train for distance and speed at the same time. Varying your routine by mixing long-distance runs with shorter, faster workouts can help you get the most out of your training and minimize your chances of injury.

Distance vs speed for new runners

As a new runner, you may be tempted to be faster first. Certainly better race times are satisfying. But if you participate in speed training before building a solid foundation of endurance, you risk injury.

Gradually increasing your distance as you begin training is a good way to ensure that you are building up the strength and aerobic capacity you need to start training harder and faster. And if you want to prepare for a race like your first 5km, it makes sense to go a long way before you start picking up speed. After all, it doesn't really matter if you're fast, but you don't have the stamina to finish the race.

When you're ready to add speed, start with a basic speed workout through high-intensity intervals. You can do reps of 200 meters, 400 meters, or more that require you to run faster than your current pace.

Distance Training for New Runners

To build your endurance base, follow these guidelines to get the most out of your training time.

Use a run / walk strategy

Don't push yourself to run the full distance you want. By doing a running / walking combination, you will be able to cover more distances and still get a great workout. And you'll build the fitness and confidence you need to run longer without walking.

Run at a conversational pace

One of the most common reasons beginning runners stop running before reaching their distance goal: they run too fast. When you start running, you should do it at a conversational pace. This means that you can easily speak in complete sentences while running. If you are short of breath, you are definitely going too fast.

Some beginning runners are physically fit to run a distance, but lack the confidence or mental strength to push themselves harder. In many cases it is simply "mind over matter". Try to distract yourself by playing mind games, choosing new running routes, or running with other people.

Speed ​​training for new runners

Once you've established a solid foundation of resistance, you can begin incorporating more speed work into your training routine. But just like increasing the distance, it is important to gradually relax the body in speed training.

Running is a high impact sport. Adding distance or speed to your routine puts a lot of pressure on your muscles, joints, and bones, as well as your heart and lungs. If you start attacking too early, you risk injuring yourself, getting tired, or getting burned.

Once you've been running regularly for four to six weeks and have a good foundation, you can start adding steps to one of your weekly runs. You can also try picking up your pace at the end of one of your runs. After three to four weeks of this, you can start adding time runs, fartlek runs, or interval workouts.


One of the best ways to start increasing your speed, fartleks involve running a little faster for about two minutes before returning to your normal pace to recover for about four minutes. Repeat these intervals several times throughout your run.

Time flies

This type of running involves starting at a gentle pace for a warm-up and then working up to a speed about 10 seconds slower than your running pace for the next 20 to 25 minutes of your run. The purpose of this pace is to raise your anaerobic threshold, a critical component in increasing your speed.

Execution interval

In this type of speed work, add shorter bursts of faster running with recovery intervals at an easier pace.

Mile repeats

These are a pattern to improve your runtime and are easy to do. Start by running a mile at a brisk pace, then slow down for a recovery period. After about a half mile of recovery pace, start another mile at a brisk pace again. Always make sure to include a warm-up and cool-down before and after the race.

Enjoy Watching This Video About Running

Source: The Run Experience

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