How Long Should a Speed Workout Be?

How long should a speed workout be?

This is a question that I get asked a lot, and it’s tough to answer because it really depends on the person’s goals.


Speed workouts are a great way to boost your cardiovascular fitness and improve your performance. Whether you’re trying to run faster 5Ks, master the hills on your trail run, or nail that first sub-seven-minute mile, the right kinds of speed workouts can help get you there. But how long should a speed workout be to achieve maximum benefits?

To start, it’s important to note that a speed workout should form only one part of an overall structured training regime. Generally speaking, this includes plenty of easy running with tempo runs added in towards the end of each week for aerobic fitness and neuromuscular development. Speed workouts come in addition to this – typically done once or twice a week – and focus on challenging your tolerance for intensity and improving running economy (the amount of oxygen required to run at any given pace).

The length of a speed session will depend on what kind you’re doing as well as your current level of experience with running at higher intensity levels. For example, if you’re just starting out, as few as 2-4 intervals may be needed for one session in order to provide enough stimulus without overreaching; whereas more advanced athletes may perform up to 10-12 intervals in total. The duration and rest between repetitions will also vary depending on the intensity and can range from 30 seconds up to 5 minutes or more. Additionally, each individual’s recovery requirements need to be taken into account so it’s important not to jump straight back into hard training after completing a speed session.

Benefits of Speed Workouts

Speed workouts are an excellent way to improve your speed and efficiency as an athlete. Speed workouts can involve a variety of exercises and drills, such as sprints and interval training. Speed workouts help build strength, agility, and power and can also help improve your endurance. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of speed workouts and how long a speed workout should be.

Improved Cardiovascular Fitness

Regular speed workouts can have profound effects on your overall cardiovascular fitness. Speed workouts are a type of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that requires you to exercise at your maximum capacity for short bursts before returning to a slower, more sustainable pace. By doing this, you force your body to use oxygen more efficiently, increasing the amount and speed at which oxygen circulates throughout the body. The increase in circulation and oxygen uptake helps to strengthen your heart muscle, improve breathing efficiency and overall cardiovascular endurance making it easier for you to exercise at a higher intensity for longer periods of time. Additionally, regular speed workouts will help reduce triglycerides (circulating fat) levels in the blood allowing for improved blood flow and an increased supply of fat burning hormones; all leading to improved energy levels during exercise.

Improved Endurance

Speed workouts can provide numerous benefits for athletes and those who strive for greater endurance. To improve endurance, speed workouts should incorporate a warm-up, a number of 30-second to two-minute sprints, and an appropriate cool-down period. Alternating the distance, intensity, and duration of each sprint is also beneficial for overall performance.

Improved aerobic capacity is one of the most important benefits associated with speed workouts. During these intervals, the body must adapt to changes in intensity by increasing cardiovascular efficiency and improving oxygen utilization. Consistently completing these circuits with proper form is essential as it will reduce fatigue while increasing strength and power.

Speed workouts can also help with race coordination by introducing challenges that target various running mechanics like form drills or sports specific exercises such as hurdle drills or agility ladders. The improved muscle strength attained from enacting these exercises will facilitate stronger pushes off the ground which may assist in improving turnaround times while boosting stride length. As a result, an athlete’s power may increase significantly as they start to incorporate fresher muscles into their running strides after finishing a circuit of speed training workouts. Subsequently this increase volume boosts overall endurance so an athlete’s performance during races can reach an optimal level quicker than the person who doesn’t engage in any type of job specific activity pre-race warmup.

Improved Speed and Agility

Speed workouts are an effective way to improve running speed and agility, reducing the risk of injury. Different types of speed work, such as sprints and drills, help runners build specific muscles in their legs and feet, allowing them to become more efficient while running at higher speeds. Regularly doing speed workouts can be beneficial for any runner looking to improve their performance.

Short sprints are a great way to begin incorporating speed workouts into your training routine. These involve running short distances (typically between 50-200 meters) at maximum intensity, with rest periods that vary depending on your goals. Speed work can also involve acceleration drills, where runners gradually increase their pace for a certain distance before full sprinting for about 20 seconds or more; or hill sprints which involve running up an incline at maximum effort. including repetition strides where you run hard from one point to another (such as from one telephone pole to the next).

These various types of speed workouts improve muscle strength and adaption in all areas of the legs — from quadriceps to calves — further aiding in your overall physical endurance and performance when engaging in longer distance races like marathons or even races over uneven terrain like trail runs. Furthermore, the inclusion of relaxing rest periods between intervals is crucial for allowing muscles time to recuperate and build up lactic acid defenses so that you can more easily overcome fatigue when competing during longer races or training sessions down the line.

Types of Speed Workouts

Speed workouts are an important part of any athlete’s training regimen. These types of workouts can improve speed, agility, and overall fitness. There are several different types of speed workouts, each with their own unique benefits and challenges. Understanding the different types of speed workouts can help you choose the best one for your fitness goals. Let’s look at the different types of speed workouts and see how long each should be.

Interval Training

Interval training is a type of speed workout that alternates periods of hard effort with easy recovery. Interval workouts can be tailored to any fitness level and can be used to target specific running goals — such as muscular endurance, aerobic capacity and speed — depending on the length, duration and intensity of the workout.

The most common format for this type of speed workout is a one or two-minute interval run at close to sprint pace followed by an equal period of rest or easy jogging. This cycle is repeated anywhere from 3 to 12 times depending on the experience level and fitness goals of the athlete completing it. Other popular variations include combining intervals with hills or incorporating different distances into the same session— such as longer tempo intervals combined with short sprints over the course of one run.

Interval training should be planned carefully, however; it’s important that you don’t push yourself too hard and cause overexertion or unplanned injuries. Additionally, rest days should be included in your weekly schedule so you have time to recover after speed workouts before attempting more challenging sessions.

Fartlek Training

Fartlek training is a type of speed workout that combines continuous running with bursts of speed over varying lengths and pacing. It is meant to be an enjoyable form of training rather than structured and demanding. This method of interval training can help increase speed, aerobic capacity, and running efficiency over longer distances. It can also be beneficial for achieving physical and mental toughness while learning efficient running techniques.

Fartlek training is great for those who are looking to start running or increase their current intensity without having to follow a formal interval or tempo that they may not be ready for yet. The combination of faster intervals and slower recovery helps athletes find the right balance between intensity and ease. The difference between fartlek workouts and traditional interval workouts is that you decide when to switch gears during a fartlek workout rather than sticking to predetermined times, intensities, or distances.

The goals of fartlek training are to improve overall aerobic conditioning as well as mental endurance for more extended sessions on the track or trail. Speed development comes from sprinting faster during the fast sections in the workout but also from being able to sustain the same level of effort during longer intervals while still going fast enough during these sections so as to reach goals without feeling too fatigued afterwards.

Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are an effective way of incorporating speed workouts into your training program, and are recommended for developing running speed and power. Hill sprints involve running up a steep incline at a fast pace, then walking or jogging down at a slower pace to rest. Generally, these workouts should be done on moderate-to-steep inclines and distances of 15 to 60 seconds, with rests of two to three minutes in length so as not to overwork your body. Hill sprints are typically done three times per week for two weeks for beginning runners, with intensity and duration increasing based on fitness level. It is important to always warm up before any type of speed workout and listen to your body for signs of fatigue or injury in order to maintain peak performance levels.

How Long Should a Speed Workout Be?

Speed workouts are an essential part of any runner’s training program. The goal of a speed workout is to increase the runner’s speed and running efficiency. Speed workouts can be done in many different ways, but the key is to work at an intensity that is significantly higher than when running at an easy pace. So, how long should a speed workout be? Let’s explore this question further.


Before starting a speed workout, it is important to prepare the body for the high-intensity effort ahead. A proper warm-up is essential to ensure that your body is able to endure the intensity of the workout and reduce your risk of injury.

Warm-ups typically begin with 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise, such as jogging or brisk walking. This can get the heart rate up and increase blood flow to working muscles, as well as improve joint flexibility, while reducing muscle stiffness and soreness.

Next, dynamic stretching exercises can be used to activate the major muscles being used during a speed workout, such as squats and leg swings. This will help create stability in day-to-day movement patterns. To round out a warm-up routine, some running drills such as fast leg movements or skips can be added at an easy pace for 3–4 minutes prior to starting speeds workouts.

Main Set

The main set of a speed workout should be composed of 5-6 fast repetitions, performed at maximum effort. Each repetition should last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes depending on your goals, the terrain, and your current training level. For beginners, aim for shorter repetitions of 30 seconds to 1 minute with longer recoveries. As you progress in speed training, gradually increase the length of each repetition to 3 minutes or more with corresponding decreased rest times.

These intervals are best performed on tracks (if you have access) or prepared surfaces that are conducive to sprinting or informal running. Primary surfaces like grass or dirt will also work but can potentially lead to acute injuries if not monitored properly over time. Oftentimes it is best to mix up the surface they are run on (tracks, grass, pavement) in order to challenge the agility component of your speed abilities.

Be sure to use an appropriate warm-up and cool-down before and after your intervals as they will help reduce soreness after the workouts and aid in recovery between intervals. It is also best practice to include drills that target form before each interval in order to maximize form for improved performance outcomes. Pay careful attention to your breathing during workouts as proper oxygen intake will determine how efficiently you’re able to perform during speeds efforts; focus on taking deep breaths throughout each repetition but regulate them towards the end so you’re able recover relatively quickly until your next set is due.


A cool down is an essential component of a speed workout, as it helps to reduce potential muscle soreness, decreases the risk of fainting or dizziness, and lowers your heart rate. At the end of your workout, wind down for five to 10 minutes by walking or jogging at a slow pace. This will help you transition out of a vigorous exercise mode and help you return to an optimal resting state. After the initial cool-down is complete, stretch each muscle group for 15-30 seconds each to increase flexibility and range of motion. Make sure that you are stretching with appropriate form while holding stretches for at least 30 seconds in order to effectively increase flexibility.


In conclusion, the length of your speed workout depends largely on the type of exercise you are doing and how fit you already are. If you are just getting started, stick with shorter distances on your runs and gradually increase them over time. As you become more experienced and fit, feel free to add longer distance runs or repetitive sprints. Ultimately, the length of your speed workout should depend on what goals you have set for yourself and what works best for your body. Remember, however, that as with any other workout plan, it is important to listen to your body’s signs of exhaustion in order to prevent injury or burnout.

Checkout this video:

Similar Posts