Neil, thanks for the great tips! I am writing from South Africa, and am a Comrades Marathon runner. My question relates to the introduction of speed training. My training programmes lasts 5 months prior to race day and includes about 1500 km training. My peak months are April and May with race day 16 June. At what stage of the programme should I include specific speed training to increase strength and raise my cruising speed?Thanks
Great question...here is the thing...cross training is the best way to increase your speed. By cross training, I mean challenge a different plane of motion. For a long distance guy like yourself, roller blades are the way to travel. You can put in great mileage, build your legs, increase your cardiovascular output, and save your joints.
Once a week, do a speed workout at the track. Run either 800 repeats or run a ladder (sprint 100, walk 100, sprint 200, walk 200, sprint 300, walk 300, sprint 400, walk 400, then back 300, 200, 100 again...)
Another great speed enhancer is sprinting UP hills (is the race up hill or downhill this year?) and walking down.
As to when...begin immediately...it will make the world of difference.
Best of luck....