Don’t like running too fast? Then why don’t you try ultra running, where you just have to run slow on a daily basis? You don’t need to run fast, you just have to find a race so long or boring that no one else wants to do it so that you win by default.
If you can’t see the sarcasm, it should be pointed out now that the idea of ultra-runners not needing to do speedwork is about as stupid as doctors not studying medicine.
You don’t have to be super fast to run ultra-marathons, although it can help, but you do have to include some speedwork each week. Running everything at one unchallenging speed won’t make your body to adapt and become stronger. Including hills, tempo work and speed sessions will stress your body and, with good nutrition and rest, make it to grow stronger.
Speedwork is also time-efficient. A tough 30-minute routine will bring far greater fitness gains than an hour’s plodding.
As well as the benefits of structured, varied training, there are other reasons to incorporate some speedwork in your race build-up. This includes building core strength that can be essential in those last couple of miles of an ultra, helping you maintain good form which then keeps your gait efficient while you soldier on towards the elusive finish line.
You don’t have to be alone on the track. Lots of clubs do weekly group speedwork sessions, you can race passing cyclists or just gather some friends together, pick a street and do a fartlek session between different landmarks. Fast to the tree, jog to the lamp-post, fast to the chippy. Don’t stop in the chippy, though. Recovery needs to be active and come without a helping of curry sauce.