In Speed Tips for Running Part 1 I discussed the importance of building a base for running. Here are some exercises that will further benefit your run training. These three exercises are focused on increasing run strength and anaerobic threshold.
Uphill and downhill running strengthens a wider variety of leg muscles than level running. This results in greater power and speed development. The higher knee lift develops increased power in the quads, leading to shorter foot strike time. To help distance runners build up speed you can do hill repeats. Hill repeats involve finding a hill of between 5 and 20 degree incline and doing short 15 - 20 second fast bursts up the hill, walk back down, and then repeat. Start with 5 and build up until you can do 20 to 30. Progress slowly as the IT band and Achilles tendon can be damaged by this training.
Fartlek is a training method similar to interval training. Fartlek can be performed on any running surface, and distances are determined by what the runner feels like doing. For example, a runner may increase his pace on a road run from a moderate jog to a fast run until he passes the next tree or telephone pole, then slow to a recovery jog. Fartlek raises the anaerobic threshold and helps the runner become more pace conscious
Various types of running surfaces can be beneficial in speed training. Grass fields add running resistance with less impact than hard surfaces. Dirt trails are beneficial for their gentle surface and variety in inclines and camber. Treadmills offer a Irish-weather option that allows you to set speed and incline. Using different surfaces can also help prevent boredom with your training.