Host: Dr. Matt Minard

Episode Summary

Dr. Matt Minard, the owner of Learn 2 Run, is a Physical Therapist who enjoys both the physical and mental benefits of running. He is passionate about helping others run safely.

In this episode, Dr. Minard continues sharing how to increase speed. Following up on the last episode, he describes in detail, specific speed-based training strategies aimed at increasing muscle efficiency and overall running capacity.

Run faster with 3 speed based training strategies

Top Takeaways

  • “The harder that you work, the less duration or less time you can spend there.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “There’s a big difference between rest and recovery.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “For strength training to be beneficial, you have to challenge the muscles more than running.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “The only time you should use your quads and your calves when running forward is if you’re increasing your elevation.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Your shoulder blades are precious, keep them in your back pocket.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “The lower back is not meant to lift, it’s not a good lever for that.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
    – [Fred DeVito]

Episode Highlights

  • [01:18] Today’s episode is on training to run faster.
  • [01:26] 3 training strategies to run faster.
  • [02:51] What is Interval Training?
  • [03:42] How to measure effort.
  • [05:54] Speed training strategies; intervals where you want to walk.
  • [09:15] Intervals with recovery where you need to walk.
  • [15:10] More tips on interval training.
  • [18:11] Strength training; increasing the push in the tush.
  • [23:13] Key concepts in strength training; the Stable Stack, the Tush Push Drill.
  • [30:48] Incorporating these strategies into a training plan.

Episode Notes

Our previous episode focused on improving running techniques to run faster. We’re continuing the discussion with part 2: learning specific training methods to increase running speed.

We’re sharing 3 training strategies to run faster:

  1. Interval training with active recovery where you want to walk
  2. Intervals with active recovery where you need to walk
  3. “Strengthening the tush to increase the push”

To understand these strategies, it is necessary to break down the concept of interval training.

What is interval training?

woman using smart watch for interval training

Interval Training is breaking up and organizing a run using two components: effort and duration. Effort refers to the intensity of the work. Duration describes how long that level of exertion will be maintained.

An example of an interval session is doing 1 minute of running followed by 1 minute of walking, 5 times. One of the ways to assess effort is to check your ability to talk at that moment. This is described in the “talk test.”

  1. How to create interval workout on Garmin Connect (before transfer to watch)
  2. How to set up intervals on GYMBOSS

Talk tests levels

  • Gear 1: You can hold a conversation.
  • Gear 2:  You can get a few words out between breaths.
  • Gear 3: You can only get one word out at a time.

At each gear, the runner is using a different speed with gear three being the highest.

Interval training with active recovery where you want to walk

Man interval training on a treadmill

Based on this understanding of interval training, the first speed training approach is described as having interval training with recovery where you want to walk but do not need to. In other words, you are alternating between running faster and running slower.

An example of this session would be 30 seconds of gear two followed by 90 seconds of gear one, repeated over 10 rounds.

A look at the heart rate response in this process reveals “rolling hills,” where the heart rate goes up and down. With time your body will adapt to allow you to run at faster speeds without fatiguing.

Intervals with active recovery where you need to walk

In the next speed training strategy, the recovery phase is one where you will have to walk. You will fluctuate between running really fast and walking. This walking period is meant for active recovery. You are still moving, but your body is recovering from the speed.

It may be done by alternating 30 seconds of gear three with 90 seconds of gear zero over 10 rounds.

In this case, the heart rate response will be peaks and valleys. This unlocks your potential by preventing fatigue. Fatigue is caused by high levels of lactic acid produced in muscle metabolism during physical activity, but with time the body gets more efficient at removing lactic acid and also directing oxygen to the muscles.

You can use apps or watches to keep track of the time when doing interval training. The treadmill has been invaluable to Dr. Minard in interval training. To progress or regress with interval training, you may adjust the ratios such that instead of 30 seconds at gear two with 90 seconds of recovery, you do 90 seconds of gear two with 30 seconds of gear one.

Strengthening the tush to increase the push

Man doing a glute bridge with one leg up

The next strategy is strength training to increase the push from the buttocks. Note that while intervals help with the heart and the lungs, strength training focuses on the muscles.

For strength training to be beneficial, you have to challenge the muscles “how” and “more” when running.

  1. The “how” refers to the specificity of training as it is crucial to work muscles that are specific to running.
  2. To challenge the muscles “more,” you can increase the amount of time under tension, the load, or the range of motion.

The muscles have 3 functions when it comes to movement

  1. Create movement:  Creating movement is seen in pushing with the gluteus using the extensors to drive forward movement
  2. Control movement:  Controlling movement is done by the core, for stability in the pelvis to create force in the movement
  3. Slow movement:  Slowing movement involves muscles acting eccentrically, lengthening under load as seen in the quads. This is why not much strength training is required for your quads

Having a stable foundation is pivotal to leverage on to produce force, this is highlighted in the stable stack where you learn how to align your body to work with gravity, not against it.

  1. The first step is the stack. Align your hips vertically over your ankles, and repeat with your shoulders over your hips.
  2. Step two is setting your shoulder blades. Bend your elbows to 90° to make an L, then drop your shoulder blades and open your palms up.
  3. The third step is to minimize the low back curve by engaging the gluteus to tuck the tailbone down. The abdominals lift the pelvis up, while in an L position. This is a neutral position. This position resembles the plank position and can be done horizontally and with a phone pad to challenge the stability of the surface, or by lifting a foot from the ground.

The Tush Push Drill level one: The Glute Bridge

Tush Push Drill: Level 1

To perform this, take a pillow, roll it up and place it around your upper back horizontally. Next support the back of your head with your hands, bend your knees and lift your ankles leaving only your heels touching the ground. Now imagine picking up an acorn between your butt cheeks, driving through your heels, and trying to crush the acorn with your butt while lifting your hips. Poking your tush, you will feel it firm up. There should be no increase in pressure between your shoulder blades and the pillow.


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Some people may find themselves using the quads for this exercise, but they end up moving upwards which is not the goal. This exercise can be made more challenging by going to single limb support which if mastered can produce amazing force in pushing with the gluteus.

Dr. Minard incorporates these strategies into his training plans in the Learn to Run Club, which includes a long run on Sunday, Mobility-Monday for stretching, Track-Tuesdays for interval training, Body-Weight-Wednesdays & Recovery Run to strengthen the legs, Thursdays for intervals where you need to walk, Fridays for cross training to get the heart rate up, and Saturdays off for recovery.

To vote on the next topic that will be discussed follow Dr. Minard on Instagram. For professional help with running smarter, safer, and faster, check Dr. Minard’s running memberships.


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