|Dr. Susan Turner, Board-Certified New York City Psychiatrist|
Some runners run for distance, while others run for speed. The best way to increase speed is with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves running extremely fast for small lengths of time, from 10 to 60 seconds usually, with a rest period of one to four times the duration of the run in between. Research has shown that this is the most effective method to improve speed and fitness, as runners develop more efficient strides as the cardiovascular system gets stronger and coordination between the nervous system and the muscles improves.
There are many different types of HIIT workouts. One, in particular, only requires a track. Runners should begin with 40 meters at optimal speed and two to three minutes of walking or light running in between, aiming to repeat this a number of times. Over time, runners should aim for six sets of 150-meter runs, with 80 meters at top speed and three to four minutes of reduced speed in between. As the runner improves, the length of the sprint should be increased and the duration of the rest decreased.