What is Speed Endurance?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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Speed endurance is one's ability to run at maximum or near maximum speed for a sustained period of time. Certain running athletes seek speed endurance to better perform at their events, and other athletes, such as football or hockey players, can benefit from speed endurance in their respective sports by taking advantage of the ability to stay at near maximum speeds consistently. Developing speed endurance is a matter of proper training combined with proper diet, as well as preparation for the specific event in which the athlete will take part. Most training methods include running for set periods of time, followed by sufficient rest and recovery.

Runners will tailor their speed endurance workouts to their specific running events, but other athletes may form a routine that works on speed endurance in general. The routine will consist of running at 90% of maximum speed and effort for a sustained period of time, then resting for a shorter period of time. The run may be repeated at this point, depending on the athlete's needs. During the running, form is just as important as intensity, and the athlete must focus not just on running hard, but running well. A proper stride will prepare the muscles for more effective running and endurance.


Proper recovery is an important step during proper speed endurance training. Lactic acid can build up in the legs after exercise; this is a by-product of burned glycogen, which is the body's preferred fuel during exercise. Lactic acid can build up both during and after exercise, affecting a muscle's ability to function at its peak. During exercise, the athlete must stay properly hydrated to ensure oxygen delivery to the muscles; after exercise, more hydration is vital, as is a good diet that replaces nutrients lost during exercise. Athletes may choose to participate in lactic acid threshold training as part of their speed endurance training as well.

Athletes burn more calories than the non-athletic person, so an athlete's diet will be different when training. Generally speaking, an athlete will need more calories in his or her diet, because he or she will be burning them quickly during exercise. A diet high in carbohydrates can provide important calories, and a higher level of protein will help as well. Chicken and fish are leaner meats that can provide sufficient amounts of protein without adding too much excess fat to one's diet. Excess amounts of fat should be avoided during endurance training.


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Post 4

@strawCake - Interesting. I think to really get in good shape, you should do a couple of different kinds of workouts. You might want to incorporate some more sustained aerobic activity into your workouts. Maybe try running or something like that!

My boyfriend was on the track team in high school, and he did speed endurance workouts. He said that it did actually help him win more events!

Post 3

I can see how speed endurance would be very desirable for someone who plays a sport like soccer or football. I'm not expert, but it looks to me like people usually have to sustain a certain level of physical activity for a pretty long time sometimes!

I personally don't know how they do it! Most of the athletic activities I participate it aren't that lengthy. I do aerial acrobatics and usually when I go to a class it is an hour long, but I'm not doing aerials the entire time. I take breaks!

Post 2

@amysamp - For me, any time I am trying to get an exercise routine in that I can’t seem to stick to on my own – I call in reinforcements! Meaning, I just try and find people to do it with me.

In getting a group together, I not only will be more likely to do it because I do not want to let others down, but it also makes the actual workouts less painful!

Right now I actually run with a group that does exactly this, speed endurance work. We meet up at a local high school and run on their track, and we do various intervals of a fast pace and then slow pace based around laps on the track.

It is a fantastic workout, but I must say it is better done in a group!

Post 1

This article makes me tired just reading it. I played soccer when I was younger and as we grew in the sport and became older specific attention was paid to our speed endurance and our stride so we could become faster.

We specifically called the speed work, speed and agility drills because not only did if focus on our speed but at the same time we practiced certain steps which tested your agility on a speed ladder (which was literally a soft ladder we laid on the ground and each box marked where the next step should happen).

But like I mentioned, just thinking about these drills makes me tired, so it comes to no surprise to me

that I cannot seem to put a speed training program together that I will actually stick to no that I am just running for fun.

I think this is because I am not interested in becoming faster, rather I want to do the speed training because I know interval training (training where you are working at max for periods of time and then slowing down for periods) is great for your cardiovascular system.

Any suggestions on how to make these workouts part of my weekly exercise routine?

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