Work it Out Wednesday: An Off the Track Speed Workout. Plus Team Eleven by Venus!

Work it Out Wednesday!

Going to the track and running a speed workout is one of the things that defines us as runners.  Next to distance runs, track intervals are probably one of the most popular workouts that a runner takes part in. After all, once we pass the beginner phase of running, most of us want to “get faster.” And of course it works. Running 400-800 meter intervals improve your race times, especially at the 5k and 10k distance.

There are some drawbacks to track intervals though.

  1. Intervals can get boring. Going around and around in circles is certainly not the most interesting workout in the world. Even if you’re traveling really fast.
  2. Unless you’re a track athlete, your race will be on the road (or trails). It is called specificity. If you are going to race on a road or on trails, taking your speed work off the track is more specific to your goals.
  3. Running in circles is hard on your body. Running around in circles is basically like running with one leg shorter than the other, and that can increase the risk of injury. Even if you turn around halfway through your workout, you’re not really balancing out, you’re exposing your other leg to the same risk.

Most of us, unless we are absolute beginners to speed work, or at an elite level of talent, will be better served to take our speed work off the track and onto the road, trails, or hills. Speed work on the road is more adaptable to racing on the road, where you have random turns, inclines, and surfaces. If you’re training for a trail race, not only do you need to practice running fast on your goal surface, you need to strengthen the many muscles in your legs, feet, and core that will help you stay balanced and uninjured in your event. And whatever type of race you are training for, hill running provides a challenging and effective workout.

 An Off the Track Speed Workout: Pyramid Fartlek Intervals

Fartlek, which means speed play in Swedish, is generally an unstructured, fun speed workout. Some examples of Fartlek workouts include running between telephone poles, alternating between hard and easy, running fast for the duration of a song you’re listening to, then slower for the next song, or “surging” for a minute every five or six minutes during a base run.

This workout has a little more structure, but it is still done with the spirit of fun.

Pyramid Fartlek Workout

While the flat, cushioned, well marked surface of a track is safe, that can work to your disadvantage because real life racing (for most of us) isn’t done on flat, cushioned surfaces. Transferring your workout to the road is more functional, but it too can have risks. Be award of potential hazards such as potholes or rocks in the road, and also be cautious of street traffic, especially if you need to cross an intersection during an interval.

Team EleVen by Venus

Being an EleVen is how Venus Williams strives to live her life. She says that 10 is just a number, while EleVen is a lifestyle. Always known for her fashion flair on the courts, Venus now makes her unique style available to all of us. EleVen by Venus goes beyond clothing and encompasses a healthy, fit, and confident lifestyle.

I am so excited that I was selected to be a part of Team EleVen by Venus! Our team is headed up by Carla Birnberg, and we are proud to be Venus’ “voice on the street.”

Aurora Top

I love love love this Hail Mary top in the Aurora pattern! I ordered it a while back, and before I received my order I saw Venus wearing the same pattern in the French Open! Ooh la la! I loved it for running (look how perfect it looks with my running skirt!). I also love the photobomber below, one of the young girls who run with us on Saturday.

                                      Back ViewPhoto Bomb

You can save 10% on the purchase of any new collection or full price item by using the code Team11DebbieW. Ready to shop? Click here. (I receive a commission if you purchase anything using my code.)

Do you do speed work as part of your training? Have you tried it on the road? Do you have a favorite workout?


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  1. says

    I do try to add some speed workouts on the road. It’s definitely more challenging because of the road conditions and finding a section of road that will allow it. Great workout that I’ll be doing soon! And congrats on Eleven!

  2. Lori Musselman says

    I like to do my speedwork on the road too. It’s just easier for me to head out the door and get ‘er done than driving to the track. Great workout.

  3. says

    Great looking workout. I’ve actually been doing some random fartleks lately. Totally going with the “fun” part of the speed work. I started by doing 2 1-block sprints then upped to 2 2-blocks then 2 more 1-blocks and this week I did all 2-blocks stretches. Still tough, but somehow mentally easier than thinking in terms of 200s, 400s, etc.
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