The purpose of speed endurance is to prolong the amount of time at which a near optimal speed can be maintained. This is particularly useful for sprinters, but will be of benefit to those running longer distances as well.
Technique is again important with speed endurance, with relaxation being of prime importance as once the athlete starts to "tighten up" the degradation of speed is accelerated.
It is often useful for you to think about running as "tall and relaxed" as possible, with the height being attained by maintaining the level of the hips as high as possible.
The text book description of speed endurance is usually be runs of between 6 and 30 seconds where there is nearly complete recovery between each of the runs (particularly if they are near the upper limit of this time). A general rule of thumb is that athletes are given 1 minutes recovery for each 10m they have just run - hence clearly these are very complete recoveries and are typically sessions used by sprinters.
However, in the "real" training world longer distance runners often call their sessions speed endurance when they are running reps of up to about 3 minutes, provided there is good recovery between the runs (which might be 5-10 minutes (or sometimes shorter) between reps - and nowhere near, for example, 60 minute rest for 600m reps as in the example above. A marathon runner, for example, would view 1000m repetitions at their 5000m race pace as speed endurance.
Regardless of the type of runner, all athletes should be doing sessions that could be considered speed endurance in the definition above (although strictly we'd give these sessions a different name for the distance runners as described above). Generally a session would consist of between 3 and 5 of these repetitions, all with recoveries that athletes would consider pretty long relative to other sessions they undertake.
Running Session Types and Definitions
- Running Strides
- Race Starts - All Distances
- Lactic Acid Training
- Interval Training
- Fartlek Sessions
- Steady Running
- Recovery Runs
- Threshold / Tempo Runs
- Split Run Training
- Pyramid Training
- Hill Running
- Paarlauf Intervals
- Running Races