Sets Training for Runners: Increased Endurance and Speed

Sets Training for Runners: Increased Endurance and Speed

Sets training helps improve running times and consists of sessions at sustained intensities over long periods of time.

What are running sets?

Sets training is based on alternating intense and fast running cycles with more gentle and slower recovery periods.

You’ll notice an improvement in your endurance levels, gain speed, and start to beat your personal bests.

What is sets training for running?

It requires a great deal of physiological and mental effort – what we runners call quality training.

Different types of training sessions will improve different aspects of running, such as fatigue resistance, speed, lactate tolerance, competition pace, VO2 Max improvement…

How do you do sets training?

In most cases, the training sets will vary depending on the target distance of the athlete’s competition or sport discipline.

Even so, the best way to get started with this type of quality training and specific work is to start with short sets (up to 800 metres) or by working for a certain amount of time (sets of 1 or 2 minutes…).

Athletics sets training

The total training time is usually shorter than continuous running sessions or with Fartlek training, sets with rhythm changes.

Example: If your goal is to complete 1k in a time of 4 minutes, and you plan to do 8 sets of 1k, the first will be slower than the last, but the final average time must be that of the goal: 4 minutes.

You’ll notice how you’ll find it easier and easier to reduce your times, the key is to get faster!

In order to do them correctly and to be able to analyse the improvements, it’s highly recommended that runners find out their different training zones and perform the running sets with a heart rate monitor, so you can control the intensity and heart rate as required at any given time.

Training with running sets to achieve your goals

We can do different kinds of running sets depending on the distance:

  • Long sets (more than 1km): 5-10 sets are generally carried out when they’re longer in duration of distance.
  • Medium sets: these greatly improve the anaerobic system, using glucose as a priority fuel. The number of sets will depend on physical form and the distance we choose for the sets.
  • When the efforts are even more intense and with short set, work blocks of 2 sets (5-10 repetitions per set or block) are a good idea.
In any case, both the intensity of the work and the recovery time between each set are fundamental.

Benefits of set training for runners

Performing set training brings with a number of benefits, including:

  • Improvement in competition performance.
  • Strengthening of the legs and the lower body in general.
  • Increasing your maximum effort capacity.
  • Enlargement of the heart and increased cardiovascular efficacy.
  • Greater tolerance to lactic acid levels.
  • Lactate recycling learning.
  • Improved aerobic power and anaerobic capacity.

Find the rhythms that best suit your needs

When set training with running, we can vary both the rhythm of the set and the speed and power applied:

  • Short sets: on flat ground, of 100 or 200 metres, reaching values around or higher than the second ventilatory threshold, to improve running speed.
  • Medium sets: between 500 and 800 metres, used to improve anaerobic capacity and lactate tolerance.
  • Long sets: over 1,000 meters, to improve aerobic power (widely used in 10K, medium and long distance runners).
  • Competition pace sets: not at maximum intensity, but at demanding intensities simulating a competition pace.
  • Power sets: uphill, to increase the force applied.
  • Downhill sets: to improve cadence and foot movement.

Who can do sets training in running?

All runners should include a sets training session in their weekly training schedule if they want to start running faster and achieve their goals.

Or better put, all runners should start training in sets to improve specific parameters: speed, aerobic power, fatigue resistance, maximum oxygen consumption…

Running speed training

And for runners just starting out, this type of training can help them improve their fitness levels, work at higher intensities…

It’s important to adapt this training to your starting level and then adjust it to your training zones: a good way to start, for example, is to do short sets with 1 minute of recovery.

Things to watch out for when running in sets

If you never exercise or have been sedentary for too long, we’ve got some tips for you before you start running in sets:

  • Assess your current physical condition. Ask your doctor for a general exam to work out how your body will cope with the first couple of sessions.
  • Talk to a coach, too. If you don’t know anyone personally, check out personal trainer social media or YouTube channels.
  • Do warm-up exercises before you start running. Jog a little, stretch.
  • Maintain constant hydration. But don’t swell up with water. A glass every 20 minutes keeps your metabolism hydrated and performing well in all its functions. It burns calories, too.
  • Train on a flat and stable surface, without obstacles that might result in an injury.
  • Start in moderation. Run for about 2-3 minutes, then walk for the same amount of time.

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About Isabel del Barrio
Isabel del Barrio
Isabel del Barrio really loves sport, demonstrating it from a very young age and sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge to this day
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