Why do we do speed work? So we can get faster. It is that simple.
When I started running I didn't do speed work. I felt like it was a major accomplishment for me to get my rear out that door and come home without stopping! But then once I started to get into better shape I wanted to become faster. So that is when I started reading up on what makes a fast runner fast. I came to learn that there are several different things we can control and several things we can't. If you want more detailed information about what makes a person fast click here.
I have decided that although all of that information is very helpful and interesting what it boils down to is an individuals desire to get faster. If a person is truly dedicated to becoming a faster runner then they will become one. Depending on all kinds of different factors doing speed work does make you faster. For some it can shave minutes and for others seconds, but regardless you are faster.
Something that I find comforting about running is that someone will always be faster then you. That may sound backwards, but really it helps. You can throw your ego out the door and really focus on what will make you better as an individual and grow from there. (One of my running coaches told us that). Doing speed work allows you to slowly set small goals for yourself. Small goals you can reach and be proud of! That is right, you did it.
So I challenge all that if they want to become faster, feel stronger and get in even better shape to incorporate speed into their weekly running workouts. Every run should have a purpose and there is always room for growth. Examples of speed workouts that you can incorporate can be found at Runners World. You can also go to the book store and there are several books on speed that can help you find a plan that will work for you.