Runner's World (UK) - - TRAINING -

Age and/or ne­glect can rob your mus­cles of their fast-twitch fi­bres, even­tu­ally sap­ping your speed, power and strength. For­tu­nately, you can fight back with short, su­per-fast in­ter­vals. Sum­mon­ing fast­twitch fi­bres to pro­pel you at full tilt trains your brain to re­cruit them more quickly at any speed – while you might as­so­ciate th­ese fi­bres only with fast run­ning, your body can also use them to keep you mov­ing for­ward when slowtwitch fi­bres are fa­tigued, says Mayer. Th­ese work­outs can even con­vert some flex­i­ble mus­cle fi­bres into the fastest­twitch type, says Gaudette, which re­sults in a fluid, more ef­fi­cient stride.

THE WORKOUT Af­ter a long warm-up – two to four miles – run the fol­low­ing se­ries of re­peats as fast as you can with­out

feel­ing out of con­trol: 3 x 100m, 3 x 150m, 3 x 100m. Take two to three min­utes of stand­ing or walk­ing rest to re­cover be­tween each rep. As you sprint, fo­cus on lean­ing for­ward slightly and paw­ing back­ward with your ham­strings and glutes. Sup­ple­ment th­ese work­outs with two to three weekly strength ses­sions for your hips, core and glutes; lower-body weak­ness can lead to in­jury at top speed, says Gaudette.


In­ter­vals can boost your ef­fi­ciency in ways that help you run longer than ever – whether you’re aim­ing to in­crease from 5K to 10K or all the way up to a half or full marathon. ‘The more ef­fi­cient you can be, the less en­ergy you’ll use to run a given pace,’ says Gaudette. ‘That al­lows you to po­ten­tially go a lot far­ther be­fore you start to break down.’

THE WORKOUT Warm up for 10 min­utes, then run half-mile or mile re­peats at a com­fort­ably chal­leng­ing pace (you might be able to speak a few words, but not quote scenes from Shake­speare, says Gaudette). Re­cover by jog­ging for half the time the rep takes. Start with three miles or six half miles, and in­crease ev­ery two to three weeks un­til you’re log­ging five miles or 10 half miles of fast run­ning.

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