Sunday, August 9, 2009

Luck of the Draw!

Do you get tired of the same-ole same-ole of your weekly speed workout? Maybe a little unpredictability is what you need mentally and physically. It's pretty common in strength training at the gym to mix-up your workout to keep your "body guessing" constantly challenging your muscles to adapt, but how often do you apply that technique to your running?

Here's a fun and simple way to mix-up your weekly speed workout. All you need are a few index cards, a pen, and a rubberband. Listed at the bottom of this post are several interval workouts. Write each workout onto a separate index card. Shuffle the cards, stack them facedown, and secure them with a rubber band. Keep the deck in your car, by your running shoes, or wherever you'll be sure to see it before your run. On your speedwork day, just pull a card from the deck and voilĂ ! you have your workout for the day. Put the the card face up underneath the pile. When you eventually reach a card that's face up, you'll know you've gone through the deck.

If you like adding this surprise-tactic strategy to your training, try creating a deck for your tempo runs. Each card could have a different distance. Bored of the same old running routes? Create a running route card deck. Place the name of a different running route location on a different card. Pull a card and today you're running at the park, or on the greenway, or the route in your neighborhood. Have fun with it. They types of card deck are endless.

Most intervals are run at either your 5K or 10K pace. For a breakdown of how fast that would be for your various interval distances, use the McMillan Running Calculator. Simply select the 5K or 10K distance and then enter your most recent 5K or 10K time. Next, click the "Calculate" button and the screen that pops up will reveal the times for your various interval distances. Below is a brief reminder of how the various interval distances correspond to the laps at the track:

100 meters = ¼ of a lap (a straightaway)
200 meters = ½ of a lap (a curve and a straightaway)
400 meters = a full lap
600 meters =
1 ½ laps
800 meters =
2 laps (just about a 1/2 mile)
1000 meters = 2 ½ laps
1600 meters =
4 laps (just about a mile)

Interval Workouts for Card Deck (These are just suggestions. Have your favorites? Use them instead.)

  1. 3 x 1600m (1-minute recovery in between)
  2. 2 x 1200m (2-minute recovery interval in between); 4 x 800 (2-minute recovery interval in between)
  3. 5 x 1000m (2-minute recovery interval in between)
  4. 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m (200m recovery interval in between)
  5. 6 x 400m (400m recovery interval in between)
  6. 10 x 400m (400m recovery interval in between)
  7. 5 x 1000m (400m recovery interval in between)
  8. 6 x 800m (90-second recovery interval in between)
  9. Three sets: 1 x 1200m (1-minute recovery), 1 x 400m (3-minute recovery interval in between each set)
  10. 4 x 1600m (3-minute recovery interval in between)
  11. 1000m, 2000m, 1000m, 2000m (400m recovery interval in between)
  12. 8 x 800m (90-second recovery interval in between)
  13. 3 x (2 x 1200m) (2-minute recovery interval in between each 1200m) (4-minute recovery interval between each complete set of 2 x 1200m)
  14. 400m @ 5K race pace (30sec recovery interval); 800 @ 10K race pace (90-sec recovery interval); 1200m @10K race pace (2-min recovery interval); 1600m @10K race pace (3-min recovery interval); 1200m @10K race pace (2-min recovery interval); 800 @ 10K race pace (90-sec recovery interval); 400m @ 5K race pace
  15. 2 x (6 x 400m) (90sec recovery interval in between each 400m) (2.5-min recovery interval between each complete set of 6 x 400)
  16. 8 x 400m (400m recovery interval in between)
  17. 3 x 1200m (3-minute recovery interval in between)
  18. 6 x 600m (90-sec recovery interval in between)

6 comments:

Brybrarobry said...

I like it.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Brybrarobry! Cool! Thanks! Let me know if you try it and how it works for you.

Meg Runs said...

Thanks! This is a great way to mix it up, nice idea with the cards!
Enjoyed visiting your blog!
meg

RunnerDude said...

Hey Meg! Welcome to the blog! Hope you visit often!

Wayne said...

You are so creative! Love the blog!

RunnerDude said...

Thanks Wayne!! Appreciate the feedback!!