Oxygen levels rise when you challenge yourself through hills and speed work so don't be afraid to push yourself and seek out more difficult running routes.
By increasing our speed, we encourage our heart to work faster and harder, subsequently leading to improved fitness.
We also burn more calories when we run fast, so never under estimate the benefits of picking up your pace, even if it's only for a minute or two at a time.
Some of the best speed sessions involve between six and eight repetitions of three minutes at 90 per cent of our total effort levels or race pace.
Take two minute intervals to recover and regain your breath so you are ready for another burst of energy.
A great tip for beginners trying to crank up their workouts is to perform speed intervals between set points, like lampposts on the side of streets.
If you have a long stretch of road then this approach is particularly beneficial.
Start by running fast and then slow between each post, but as you notice results, push that further so that you are taking three or four posts at a fast pace, while keeping the distance between two posts as your recovery.
This kind of running is known as fartlek training and is ideal for promoting increased speeds for races and competitions, making it a sure-fire method for achieving those personal bests.
It can be hard to stay motivated during a speed session so try to convince a friend to join you, or make a game out of the workout so that you don't get bored.
That might involve keeping track of your time over each repetition and trying to beat it or simply aiming to catch a runner who is ahead of you.
Before setting out on a speed session it is paramount you undertake a warm-up, including stretches.
Set off at a slow pace for around 15 minutes before drawing to a stop to give those quads, calves, hamstrings and back muscles a good stretch.
The effectiveness of a stretch typically fades after 20 seconds but experts recommend holding them for 30 seconds for maximum results.
Once you body is warm, you can begin challenging it!
Complementary to speed sessions are hill runs, as these also work to promote fitness but in an entirely different way.
They encourage you to build up you muscles, but ladies need not worry about developing bulky legs.
In fact, exercising uphill helps to tighten the glutes so you have a more rounded bottom ahead of that summer holiday.
All these sessions need is a decent gradient where you really feel the effort involved in getting to the top of the hill.
They can be run either on trails or tarmac so long as there is something to climb, and like speed sessions, you need to perform between six and eight repetitions to achieve the best results.
The strongest runners might do up to 12 but those starting out should begin with just four, using the jog back the bottom of the hill as your recovery.
When you're finished either workout, take another short jog at the end and stretch as part of your cool down.
Posted by James Worrall
29/06/2012 10:47:57Subscribe to the News RSS feed