Fitness Articles

Running Workouts to Increase Speed

Training Programs for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Runners

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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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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 a certified personal trainer, certified health coach and advanced health & fitness specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • 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 - 1/12/2014 11:51:01 AM
  • @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?! - 12/31/2013 10:43:15 AM
  • this is for AFTER C25 or during? - 12/15/2013 12:53:18 PM
  • Thanks for the article. But I haven't start to run yet. - 11/14/2013 2:57:44 AM
  • 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 ;) - 6/6/2013 10:05:56 AM
  • EMMANYC
    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). - 3/27/2012 5:04:31 PM
  • This article does not specify: How often should I run the speed workout? Once a week? More? Less? - 3/27/2012 2:23:27 PM
  • 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. - 3/27/2012 11:17:49 AM
  • 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 - 3/13/2012 1:35:49 PM
  • This is a great reference. I was looking for a cardio run to maximize my limited time that I have on the week ( since I work and have two kids). I will try this tomorrow. - 5/29/2010 7:02:39 PM
  • Thanks love it - 3/19/2010 10:31:21 AM
  • My long-term goal is to start running. This will be a great training method since I haven't ran since I was little. - 3/19/2010 10:12:07 AM
  • Speed training is great ....I varied the time and distant of my sprint training At the moment I have a mile and half track I jog for 50 sec sprint for 10 second. Tough going but worth the effort.. I train with client and it amazing how much fitter they have become plus the change in their body - 3/16/2010 2:48:24 PM
  • 4SCOTT
    I HAVE BEEN DOING SPEED INTERVALS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS AND DO NOTICE A DIFFERENCE BUT I AM SO SHORT THAT 5.2 IS THE MAX I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP UP WITH. I KNOW IT INCREASES MY ENDURANCE BUT I GET DOWN THAT I CAN'T PULL ANY OF THOSE NUMBERS EVEN AT A BEGINNERS LEVEL. ANY GOOD IDEAS - 2/20/2010 3:42:21 AM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    I saved this article since I want to start running again. Well thinking about it anyway. I have not done that since high school. I was wondering though, I was told that if your just starting out you should walk 100 paces, run(jog) 100 paces and gradually increase. Very good article though. - 1/17/2010 3:24:46 PM
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