What is Speed Endurance Training?

Jeremy Wariner 400m Race

Author: Jimson Lee

The purpose of speed endurance training is to prolong the amount of time where a near maximal speed can be maintained.

Although the term is aimed at the long sprinters (200m-400m), speed endurance training also benefits the longer distance runners as well as other events like hockey.

The training range for sprinters will usually be runs between 7 and 40 seconds where there is nearly complete recovery between each of the runs (especially if the runs are near 95% of maximum speed). A sample workout would be 2 x 300m or 325m with a full 15-20 minute recovery.  Note:  Running events up to 7 seconds utilizes the ATP/CP energy stores, and anything over 40 seconds is considered aerobic, or a mixture of anaerobic & aerobic, depending on the intensity.

Longer distance runners also benefit from speed endurance training. For example, an 800m runner would do intervals at a distance less than 800m (i.e. 400m repeats) at a speed of race pace or faster. Similarly, a marathon runner would do 1-mile or 1-kilometer repeats at race pace or faster speeds.

Keeping relaxed is the key to maintaining proper form throughout, especially keeping the hips as high as possible.  I like to imagine someone pulling and holding my hair up (like a Bugs Bunny cartoon) and enforcing the term “keep tall & relaxed.”

So, can someone with a personal best of 11.54 seconds for the 100 meters run a world record time in the 400m of 43.18 seconds?

In theory, it’s possible.

11.54 seconds is about 10.54  seconds if you take in account 1 second for acceleration out of the blocks. This translates to an average speed of 9.48 meters per second (m/s), or about 42.18 seconds for 400m. Add 1 second for acceleration, and voila, you have 43.18 seconds!

So when a young lad shows up at the track with a personal best of 11.30 seconds, I tell him, “Son, if you ran your 100m, kept going for 400m, and don’t slow down, you would break the world record!”

It’s not as simple as that, but it illustrates the importance of speed endurance.

Related Post:  Pose Running and Sprinting

photo credit:  y.caradec