Running Info

Guest Post: How To Improve Your Speed!

Happy Monday folks!  Today’s post is going to be a special one,  it’s my very first guest poster!  Due to my exam this week, I have asked my friend Sherman to put together something for you.  He’s a Running Free Ambassador (here’s his profile for you to stalk!), did a tri-a-tri, and like I am, he’s food lover!  Also, he will be one of the 200 runners racing in the Canadian 5k Road Race Championships!  He and I have an upcoming marathon relay in July and the plan is that he’ll carry the team 😉 hahaha

And ladies… he’s single 😉

Now without further ado here’s his post…

Image Credits to Canadian Running Magazine. Here’s Sherman racing the Sporting Life 10k

A little bit about me before I share my experience in “How to improve your speed?” I am a certified personal trainer and a group fitness instructor located in Toronto.  In 2012, I decided to take my marathon training seriously. I am striving to be faster and stay injury free as I do so.  My current goal is to qualify for the 2015 Boston Marathon.  Currently my marathon PR is 3:08:39 so I’m just a few minutes away from qualifying and that is why speed training is important to me.  I hope you find what I have to say useful. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, comments or recommendations to be even speedier.

There are many ways to improve your speed in running a marathon.  The two most common methods are Interval training and Farlek.  On top of that, I believe that foam rolling for recovery is very important when it comes to working on speed.  Here I am going to share my experience with the interval training and foam rolling.


Interval training is when you vary your speeds and intensity throughout a shorter run.  For example, you might repeatedly jog for three minutes, and then push yourself hard for a minute, for a certain amount of time.  You can also go off distance instead of time.  Or mix them all together!

You can play around with the distances from 100 metres to 1600 metres depending on the distance you are training for.  I prefer 800 metres to 1600 metres.  For example, you could do 1 mile x 3 repetitions with 2.5 minute recovery (walk a little, jog a little).

To ensure I don’t burnt out, I run at about 80% of my speed on the straight and slow down to approximately 60% on the curve – I then to repeat for 4 laps.

Normally I do this at a 400 metres track to help keep track of distance/laps.   You might have to start at a lower rep to build your base but over time, you’ll find that  you can add 1 extra rep every week as you become stronger.  Try to set a goal for the interval and stick to it and you should see improvement over time.

So what pace should you run at?  I normally aim for 30 seconds faster than my race pace. For example, my race pace is 4:16/km (3hr marathon), my interval pace is 3:50/km.  Why? This will help your raise your anaerobic threshold (latic acid tolerance – the burning sensation in your legs) and improve your speed over time since you’ll be able to hold a faster speed for a longer stretch of time.

Foam rolling

Foam rolling helps relax your muscles and quickens your recovery.  The faster you recovery, the stronger and faster you’re going to run!! I foam rolling everything from my quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and adductors. Even my lower back and neck some times.

So when do you foam roll? Normally, you foam roll after your run.  However, you can foam roll before your run too or on your off/rest/cross train days but it’s very important to foam roll after every run.  Remember to be gentle when you first start as it may feel like a very deep tissue massage.  I treat it as a workout and spend 30 minutes to an hour.  As an added bonus, it helps you build core and arm strength.  🙂

(Want more information on foam rolling? click here )

Hopefully you found this post by Sherman useful!

Place to find Sherman:

Instagram: @mightyyyyymouse

Twitter: @mightyyyyymouse



Don’t forget to follow me here on my blog 😉
Other places to find me




<3 Carmy


EDIT: I’ll be linking this post up for Tuesdays on the Run!

13 thoughts on “Guest Post: How To Improve Your Speed!

  1. I love foam rolling…I don’t know how I ever trained without it! I try to foam roll after almost every run, and sometimes before a run or race to help me warm up.
    It sounds like you are on the right track to earning that BQ!:)

    • I hope so!! =) t-minus 2 months till my race. I am pretty excited to see how it goes. I’m going to aim for a sub 3hr base on my speed training so far. I just have to stay injury free and keep foam roller!!

  2. I just started running and I can never do intervals over 200m before getting tired. How long does it take to build that up or am I going too fast?

    • Depending on what distance you are training for. You can start slow by doing 100m on the straight (60-80% effort) and try to recover on the turn (100m). Repeat this twice (400m total). 1-2 min recovery lap/walk and do another round. Your recovery and endurance will improve a lot quicker. Try doing 400m’s 3-4 times for a interval workout. Eventually, you’ll be able to do 600s (repeat above method 3 times), 800s (repeat above method 4 times), 1000s (repeat above method 5 times), 1600s (repeat above method 8 times). You’ll learn to pace yourself as the distance gets longer for each interval. Hope this helps! =)

    • Your pace is probably a little too fast. Depending on how often and consistent you do intervals, it could take a few weeks or months to build up your speed and endurance to complete the each interval distance.

  3. Oh my gosh, 30-60 minutes on the foam roller!?! I’ve been so slack about foam rolling lately, I have to get back to it because I’m really feeling it in my quads. I’ve added structured intervals into my training plan, but this summer heat is derailing me. Good luck on your BQ and thanks for linking up with us today!

    •’s a lot of time on the roller but it feels so good after. =) I try to run in the morning and speed train later in the evening if my body isn’t screaming at me. =P That’s how I avoid the heat. Thanks, I will definitely run my heart out in the Edmonton marathon. =) Happy Rolling!!

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