Organic Runner Mom

Running with Pick-ups

Running with Pick-ups
Running with Pick-ups

We are running along the quiet dirt road. It is hot. Our heels kick up the dust and dirt. All of a sudden he says we’re going to pick-up the pace from here to the third telephone pole. I grumble but oblige. We gradually pick up our pace and push, not a spring though just a pick up to get our legs moving faster, our heart rates quickened and our lungs working harder. As we run we do a series of these pick-ups, not only does the work feel good but it makes the time pass more quickly.

What is the purpose of pick-ups when you are running?

When you do a pick-up this is usually a short burst of speed lasting from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. They are often done during long steady runs. According to Mbition, ” Pick-ups help to stimulate speed over long distance, and also help with your running form as it will increase engagement of your major muscle groups and we generally run with better technique when we run faster.”

The more you run just long and slow the more likely your race pace will be slow too. Adding in pick-ups gives you a boost and helps your legs to go faster. After each pick-up return back to your normal pace.

Do you do speed pick-ups when you run? Read to find out why they are good for you. #runchat #running


Strides are another way to do pick-ups when you run however they are done at shorter intervals. When you do strides you will pick up the pace for only 15-20 seconds. Doing 4-6 strides during a run can help to develop the quickness in your legs.


Fartleks or Speed Play is another way to get speed into your running. These are faster pick-ups with recovery intervals in between. These can simply be done as a warm-up and then 1 min on 2 min off, followed by 2 minute on and 1 minute off and then repeating the cycle. You can vary the time/distance of each interval when you are doing fartleks.

Running with Pick=Ups 2
Running with Pick=Ups 2

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What type of pick-ups do you like to do when you run?

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10 responses

10 responses

  1. Great ideas!
    Right now, I’m trying out low HR training, so I have dedicated faster sessions twice a week.
    Maybe after I’ve completed this cycle I will start on pickups again!
    Catrina recently posted…Embracing Rest DaysMy Profile

  2. I haven’t really been focused too much on speed right now, but in the last few weeks, when I’ve come to the last minute of my timed runs, I encourage myself to push the pace. I speed up at 60 seconds, again at 30 and again at 15.

  3. When I trained for MCM last summer, I’d do 5K runs on Mondays, with pick-ups for the last 1/4-mile of each mile. I’m looking forward to bringing those back now that my 5K time trials are done 😉

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