Speed Work Out In Off Season?

What is speed work and why is it needed during the off season?  And what are the benefits?

I am in off season. Finished my marathon in October, and my next race won’t be until sometime in Spring 2016.  In other words, I am not training for any specific race right now, but I continue to run during the off season, including the speed work.

Click here to see descriptions (and a graphic representation) of the different workouts.  I expand the “speed work” category to include paces from race pace, to tempo run, to sprint. Basically any run with pace above the easy runs.

Because their faster pace and greater efforts, speed work overloads my cardio and leg muscles.  I add it to my off season runs to keep my weight in control and my fitness level up.  Additionally, speed work makes my running routines more interesting.

Here is an article by RunnersConnect that presents a good case for why speed work is beneficial any time of the year.  I particularly like the benefit of using speed work as a transition workout between race training to avoid injury. The article also includes sample work outs for weight lose, overall fitness, and other benefits.

Do you incorporate speed workout in your routines even during the off (non-racing) season?

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