Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quick-n-Simple Interval Workout

A speed workout is one of the best ways to kick your running program into high gear, but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. The key to an effective speed workout is speed. You can definitely get that doing repeats on the track, but you can also get in an effective speed workout while on the trail, running at the park or at home or in the gym on the treadmill.

Basically all you need is a series of slow and fast intervals. These intervals can be based on time or distance. For example you can run at a moderate pace for 4 minutes and then run fast (just below your 5K pace) for 1 minute. Or if you'd prefer to base the intervals on distance, try running a quarter mile at a moderate pace and then run a quarter mile at a fast pace. The key is to repeat this series of slow/fast intervals for at least 30 minutes.

Your workout might look like the following:
1. Begin with a 5-minute warm-up (a brisk walk or easy jog)
2. Select one of the following interval combinations below. Rotate between the slow/fast intervals for 30 minutes.
4 mins @ a moderate pace / 1 min @ a fast pace
3 mins @ a moderate pace / 2 mins @ a fast pace
1/4 mile @ a moderate pace / 1/4 mile @ a fast pace
1/2 mile @ a moderate pace / 1/2 mile @ a fast pace
3. Finish with a 5-minute cool-down (easy jog or walk)

Incorporate this workout once a week into your running routine and you'll see improved muscular endurance, improved VO2, improved speed, and overall better running efficiency.
For a recap of the workout, check out the following video clip from RunnerDude's Fitness.


Steven Cohen said...

Nice, Runner Dude! I'm working on maximizing my points in the Army 2-mile test this summer, so I'm running 1/4M @ about 6:30 pace, then resting for 1 minute for 8 to 12 sets. I did 12 the other day because I felt so great, but that seems rare so far. Looking for a 14-minute race, but thinking I might hit 13:30 if I train well! (oh, I'll amp up to 600s, 800s and then mile repeats later)

RunnerDude said...

Hey Steven!
That's awesome man! Sounds like you're well on your way to that 13:30!! Keep me posted.

Mark U. said...

Runner Dude - From your treadmill video it's clear that you're a heel striker :-(

Don't feel bad, as 80% of all runners heel strike. If it's any consolation wearing "traditional" running shoes with excessively large heels it's hard not to. If you're interested in transitioning to more of a mid-foot landing try a minimalist running shoe (e.g. Newtons or Nike Free). A great video showing proper technique can be seen here: (while it was developed to demonstrate use of the Newton running shoes the advice is universally applicable).

RunnerDude said...

Hi Mark! You're funny. Must be the shoes, cause I'm a mid-foot runner. Sometimes I use forefoot and midfoot for the same foot strike. No, I'm not an extremem forefoot striker, but I am a mid foot striker and not a heel striker. Nice to know that my feet get that much attention though. LOL! This video shows that I'm definitely not doing the heel striking shown and definitely more inline with the mid- to fore-foot strike shown. Nice pitch for Norton and Nike, though. LOL! Very famliar with both.(i.e. ) My barefoot runner friend, Josh, says it's better to skip the minimalist shoes and just ease into barefoot running by barefoot running.