In running, a surge refers to a short burst of faster running thrown into the middle or end of a run. It is a controlled pick-up to a noticeably faster effort, but not an all-out sprint. The purpose of surges is to improve leg speed, running economy, and make a runner a faster, more efficient athlete at any distance.

Surges can be incorporated into any type of running workout, from beginners to competitive age-groupers, and can benefit all runners. Surges are similar to strides, but are slightly longer and more controlled, and are done during a run with easy effort running as recovery.

Surges can help break up the monotony of long runs, improve the ability to change pace mid-race, and prepare runners to pass others during the final miles of a race. To incorporate surges into a training plan, runners should focus on good form, quickening their turnover, swinging their arms faster, and maintaining a tall and relaxed posture.


  1. Strategic Use: Runners use surges strategically to get ahead, create a lead, or maximize their chances of winning. This tactic can be particularly useful in long-distance events like marathons, half-marathons, and 10ks.
  2. Execution: A surge involves a high-intensity burst that's shorter than a sprint but faster than your usual pace. You engage your whole body, using powerful, explosive movements to propel forward. This requires significant energy and determination.
  3. Risks and Timing: While surges can be beneficial, they're risky and can lead to exhaustion if not timed well or executed without proper preparation. Runners need to carefully consider their energy levels and the best moment to surge, like taking advantage of a weaker opponent or when others are most vulnerable.
  4. Benefits and Strategy: When done correctly, surging can lead to significant gains in a race. It's all about smart timing and strategy, knowing when to push your limits to outpace competitors.

In summary, surges are sudden speed bursts used by runners to challenge themselves and gain an edge in races. They require substantial effort and strategic timing but can lead to notable improvements in race performance and results. Proper preparation and knowing the right time to surge are key to making the most of this tactic.


Incorporating surges into your running routine can provide several benefits:

  1. Improved leg speed and running economy: Surges help runners become faster and more efficient at any distance, by improving their leg speed and running economy.
  2. Psychological boost: Surges can provide a mental boost by breaking up the monotony of long runs and giving runners a sense of accomplishment when they complete a fast surge.
  3. Better race strategy: Surges can help runners learn to change pace mid-race, which can be beneficial in longer races like marathons or ultras.
  4. Increased fat oxidation: Slower surges can improve fat oxidation, making runners more efficient at fast-but-not-too-fast efforts.
  5. Enhanced aerobic development: Pairing surges with aerobic workouts can improve aerobic development and overall endurance.
  6. Injury prevention: Surges are generally less intense than traditional interval workouts, as they involve more recovery and a focus on sustainable, smooth speed. This can help prevent overtraining and injuries.

Incorporating surges into your running routine can be an effective way to improve your overall running performance, endurance, and race strategy.