About 2 years after I started the group I was looking for a way to get a better grip on how people were progressing with their training and fitness. So decided the best way to find out was to test everyone, since a written test wouldn’t tell me anything I thought hey lets just have everyone run hard once a month. Since Tuesday night is a hard workout night I thought we could just do it then. Now you ask yourself why two miles? Well two miles is short enough that it test your speed and long enough to test your strength while also allowing for a quick recovery after the workout.

Fartlek is a Swedish term that means 'speed play' or playing with speed. I use the term varied pace to describe this form of running, because that is what you really are doing when you run a fartlek workout. What I like about a fartlek workout is that you run based on how you feel, so if you are tired on that specific day you can run a little easier and there is not clock timing you as you run for a specific distance.

Strides: Strides offer a way to work on your speed and form. They are less structured than other workouts and don’t take a lot of time. Basically, strides are gradual accelerations over 80 to 100 meters. By running four to eight strides a couple times a week, you help your legs and the rest of your body remember what it's like to run fast. Without strides or some type of speed-form drill, it's easy to get sloppy in your running and do only slow running with bad form. You can find yourself slipping into a pattern where you're training to run slowly and inefficiently rather than faster and more economically.

Hills are our friends.

Probably one of the comments I hear the most form the group is “I hate hills” and my come back is that hills are our friends. Personally I don’t think there is any workout that we do that is better for you. The rather obvious benefit of hill workouts is that they make you better at running hills. Even better, you will see benefits on the flats, too.

Tempo Time

: A tempo run is nothing more than 20 minute steady run. This is hands-down the least complicated variety of speed work. There are no distances to keep track of, no split times to remember, and no hassles. All you have to do is run faster than your usual training pace or 80-85% of your maximum heart rate or for those of you who are not good at math like me, 20-30 seconds slower per mile than your current 5k race pace. (To make it even easier for you I have put a chart up on the web site in the members section to help you out with this.)