Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Guest Post: Speed Pat Walsh

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Guest Post: Speed Pat Walsh

 ** Speed ** πŸƒ

Hope everyone is safe and well. Great to see a few races going ahead and people back meeting and racing. It will take a while yet but at least it is a step in the right direction. Well done to all the organisers who are attempting to kick it all off again in trying circumstances. 

Will you go back racing, or have you settled into a routine of just a few handy runs per week and the thought of racing hard is a bit off-putting for the moment.


The answer to building self-confidence again and to getting you back to a decent pace is speed work. I like many of you have given the last 16 months just “going for a run”.

Long or short it didn’t matter and I turned the legs over at a very slow but even pace. No variety at all. My fitness isn’t too bad but the net result is I have slowed down.

How can we run faster or hold on to any speed we had if we do not practice at it. So I ask you if you intend racing again then please put in a speed session each week into your routine.


There are many types of speed sessions but the simplest one which gives results reasonably quickly is Fast 400’s.

Warm up with a nice easy run for 5 to 10 mins
Do some stretches and mobility work.
Then run 400metres quickly and recover for between 90 and 120 seconds.
GO again and repeat this for 10 times.
You should you be doing these at a quicker pace than you hope for at a 5K or a 4mile race.
If you are a 7mn/ml 4.20mn/km then 400’s in 1.30-1.35
If you are a 8mn/ml 5.00mn/km then 400’s in 1.45-1.50
If you are a 9mn/ml 5.35mn/km then 400’s in 2.00-2.05
If you are a 10mn/ml 6.10mn/km then 400’s in 2.15-2.20
Cool down with an easy run again and a few more stretches.
Try to keep the pace even and do the first few maybe a second or 2 slower.
If any muscles are tight then do a few stretches in the rest period.

Concentrate on breathing and posture during the run. You will be turning the legs over and working the lungs harder than in a race and that can only improve you and make racing easier.

As the weeks go on you can adapt the session by either

Running a little quicker
Doing 12 repeats
Cutting down the rest period


A few friends and I have a few weeks now of this behind us and already I can see the benefits. I kill them but they love me (I hope).

Many other good speed sessions you can do to help and I can detail a few more if interested. This will prevent boredom and have different benefits to your fitness.

For the moment try the 400’s as they give best results.


Support all our Olympians. They are superb and deserving of support. ☘☘☘ Well done to the rowing team for the lift they have given the country.

I wish to offer hope after 17 months of pain. Not over but there is light. ☀️☀️

Have a lovely weekend. Feel free to share any running pictures and give us all a lift.


“I know you've been hurting
Waiting on a train that just won't come
The rain, it ain't permanent 
And soon we'll be dancing in the Sun
We'll be dancing in the Sun”….. Better Days, Dermot Kennedy


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