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The Need for Speed: Sprint your way to a faster 5K

2. Intermediate Speed Three-Minute Repeats Pete Rea is the elite athlete coach at ZAP Fitness in Blowing Rock, N.C., where athletes only occasionally incorporate true speed work (sprints) into their routines. But Rea loves a good interval workout. Find an open stretch of road or trail. Run for three minutes in one direction at 10K pace, marking where you start and stop. Rest for two minutes. Then run back to your starting point at 10K pace. Repeat this back and forth process eight times, trying to go a little further in the three-minute window with each repeat.

3. Advanced Speed 200-Yard Sprints with Decreasing Rest For this workout, one of Blair’s favorites, you’ll need a track. Sprint one 200 (halfway around a track), rest for one minute. Sprint another 200, rest for 45 seconds. Sprint another 200 with a 30-second rest, then another 200 with only a 15-second rest. Not many runners can sprint that last 200 repeat.

Watch basic agility drills demonstrated by two of Norm’s professional runners.

RestWise This online-based software program aims to take the guesswork out of recovery days. Log on to each day and answer a handful of questions (resting heart rate, urine shade, sleep quality…). An algorithm crunches the data and generates a “Daily Recovery Score,” letting you know if you’re training and resting appropriately. But knowledge comes with a price: $179 for a 12-month subscription.

Ice Bath Many endurance athletes soak their legs in a tub filled with water and ice to alleviate soreness and aid recovery. The theory behind the practice is that the cold water constricts the blood vessels, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. When you exit the tub, the blood rushes back to your muscles, delivering fresh oxygen that helps repair the damage done by a hard run. Anecdotal evidence for the benefits of post-workout ice baths is strong. The science behind the practice, however, isn’t as strong.

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