Fitness Articles

Running Workouts to Increase Speed

Training Programs for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Runners

Want to run faster? This program will help increase the pace that you're able to maintain while running. If you're new to running or exercise, start with the Beginner program. As you progress, slowly increase your time and eventually move to the Intermediate and Advanced workouts. Because this is a general program, you may need to adjust the recommended speeds, intensities, and times to suit your fitness level.

If you have access to a treadmill, focus on the pace guidelines (left column), working at your own intensity level. If you run outdoors or do not have access to any tools to measure your pace, then use the intensity guidelines (right column) as a guide for how fast or slow to run. (Find a full intensity chart and explanation below the workouts.)

Beginner Speed Program
 What to do  For how long  Intensity (1-10)
 Warm up at 3.5 mph pace  5 minutes  3.5
 Jog at 5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Jog at 5.3 mph pace  2 minutes  6
 Jog at 5.7 mph pace  5 minutes  7
 Jog at 5.9 mph pace  3 minutes  7.5
 Jog at 5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Cool down  5 minutes  3.5
 Total Workout Time:  24 minutes  

Intermediate Speed Program
 What to do  For how long  Intensity (1-10)
 Warm up at 5 mph pace  5 minutes  3.5
 Jog at 5.5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Jog at 5.8 mph pace  2 minutes  6
 Jog at 6.2 mph pace  5 minutes  7
 Jog at 6.4 mph pace  3 minutes  7.5
 Jog at 5.5 mph pace  4 minutes  5
 Jog at 5.8 mph pace  2 minutes  6
 Jog at 6.2 mph pace  2 minutes  7
 Jog at 6.4 mph pace  5 minutes  7.5
 Jog at 5.5 mph pace  2 minutes  5
 Cool down  5 minutes  3.5
 Total Workout Time:  37 minutes  

Advanced Speed Program
What to do For how long Intensity (1-10)
Warm up at 5.5 mph pace 5 minutes 3.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 2 minutes 5
Jog at 6.3 mph pace 2 minutes 6
Jog at 6.7 mph pace 5 minutes 7
Jog at 6.9 mph pace 3 minutes 7.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 4 minutes 5
Jog at 6.3 mph pace 2 minutes 6
Jog at 6.7 mph pace 5 minutes 7
Jog at 6.9 mph pace 3 minutes 7.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 4 minutes 5
Jog at 6.3 mph pace 2 minutes 6
Jog at 6.7 mph pace 5 minutes 7
Jog at 6.9 mph pace 3 minutes 7.5
Jog at 6 mph pace 2 minutes 5
Cool down 5 minutes 3.5
Total Workout Time: 52 minutes  

An Explanation of Using the RPE Method to Measure Intensity
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) may be the most versatile method to measure exercise intensity for all age groups. Using this method is simple, because all you have to do is estimate how hard you feel like you’re exerting yourself during exercise. RPE is a good measure of intensity because it is individualized—it’s based on your current fitness level and overall perception of exercise. The scale ranges from 1 to 10, allowing you to rate how you feel physically and mentally at a given intensity level.
An RPE between 5 and 7 is recommended for most adults. This means that at the height of your workout, you should feel you are working "somewhat hard" to "hard."

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Member Comments

  • The speeds listed here are very discouraging for a beginner, and also for those of us who are short. I am jogging at 3 mph, and that's less than the warm up speed! 5.9 would throw me off the back of the treadmill!
  • I agree with using the RPE method but pace and speed is really not based on experience level. I would probably consider myself an intermediate level runner because I have run a couple of half marathons, some 15ks, some 10ks, some 5ks, etc. I run four or five days a week, do some speed work, run hillsk, and I going to start trail running. But running as fast as the charts indicate based on being an intermediate, too fast for me.
  • oh thank you! i am a long time runner with about a 10 month break.....arthrit
    ic knees one worse than the other.
    i am using the coach to 5k to gradually come back. cant get over how attached i am to the disappointing it is for me to be running so slowly.
    This helps to remind me to focus on slow and steady progress....when I am better able, i can focus on my speed.
    I know races were always for me to compete with myself, now i just have to lose that somehow and it is more of a struggle than i imagined.
  • The beginner speeds seem awfully high for someone who is actually a beginner.
    5 mph on my treadmill is quite exerting for a beginner, in fact, probably too exerting for someone beginning and out of shape.
  • I love my treadmill but I get the best out of it when doing this
    10 minute blocks of: with a 30 second break to set up the treadmill or change the music
    5kph @6% incline to warm up, then
    5 to .5.5KPH at 6
    5.5 to6KPH at 6 right up to 7KPH
    Then 10 minute blocks
    7 KPH at 14%
    6.6 KPH at 12
    6KPH at 10
    5.5KPH at 8
    5KPH at 6

    finish with 15 minutes at 4kph at 6 to run down

    This give a great workout just walking
  • When I was actually jogging over 4 mph, this was a great achievement for me! Maybe the RPE would work. Or I could measure out a mile on the road in the village? Worth thinking about
  • @Aponi KB, I do not agree with your critique and I am a distance runner. MPH is given because that is the input a treadmill recognizes. "Jog" simply means a run with intensity below an all-out effort. Treadmills may not always be accurate for cal burned, since that depends on individual metabolism, but mph is accurate. I would rather run outside than on a treadmill too, but it gets colder in Chicago than in some parts of Siberia. Do you run outdoors when it is 40 to 60 deg F below freezing?!
  • this is for AFTER C25 or during?
  • Thanks for the article. But I haven't start to run yet.
  • Wondering how they can lump all treadmill speeds together since all treadmills are different. Or am I just that slow? When I "jog" on my treadmill, I'm "jogging" at 4.2-4.3 mph. But if I put it at 5 mph, I'm going to be running, not jogging. If I could "job" at 5mph, I wouldn't have any problems - I'd be dern proud ;)
    Most training programs I've seen recommend one speed day, one "long slow run day", and one "tempo day" (a day where you try to run consistently at or slightly faster than your goal race pace; this will be faster than your "long slow run day" but slower than your speed day).
  • This article does not specify: How often should I run the speed workout? Once a week? More? Less?
  • Great article. Just started the walk/run program last week, this really helps! So looking forward to meeting my goals one step at a time.
  • you know....the only thing is I have never met a runner who used the word "jog" or measured pace in mph instead of min/miles

    Maybe it's unfair but those two things make me question this article.

    well that and the reliance on a treadmill to measure pace. Personally I hate treadmills and everyone knows they are not as accurate as they claim

About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

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