It’s the first Tuesday of the month, so it must be Tri Talk Tuesday! So today I’m Linking Up with You Signed Up For WHAT?!, Blisters and Black Toenails, and The TriGirl Chronicles. This month’s theme is The Run, so I’m reaching back into the Archives to share my favorite ways to change up my running so I don’t get too bored.
When I started swimming to get ready for triathlon, a coach suggested that instead of just swimming 1500’s, 1800’s and 2100’s all freestyle that I add in drills to break up the monotony and also to improve my overall stroke. The coach explained that by doing this I would actually increase my swim speed and strength in the water.
The same holds true for running. Doing the same workout over and over causes the body to adapt. So, to make progress, change it up. Long days help judge your performance, endurance, and improvement. Fun, interval sessions help break up the monotony. They’ll also help you build better performance into your overall running ability. Most of these can be done anywhere if you use your imagination.
Hill Repeats. Nothing says interval like the word repeat. This doesn’t have to be a mountain, just a hill. If you live in a region with rolling hills, any of these roads are perfect for repeats. If you live in the flats, well, you might have to be inventive. Try a local high school or college campus. There may be some hills around the sports stadiums. The idea behind hill repeats is to pick an interval, say 8 rounds. Run up the hill. Walk down. Repeat that loops 8 times. Or set your watch for 30 minutes and do hill repeats for time. If you’re an advanced runner, instead of walking down the hill, try lateral shuffles or running backwards.
Bleacher Runs. This can be done anywhere you have a series of steps at your disposal. High school track. Beach. Museum. You get the point. High school track is my favorite because there are two sets of bleachers and multiple rows on each. Alternate running up one flight, down the next until you’ve crossed the entire set of bleachers. Then, run around the track to the other set, do the same again. Run back to the first set of bleacher s and start over. This can be intense, so if you’re a beginner just aim for completing one set and work your way up.
Mini Me doing bleacher runs in her Track Team gear
Tabata Sprints. Tabatas are touted as the four minute miracle workout. They are bursts of high intensity work for a short duration. The typical workout consists of 20 seconds of high activity, in this case running, followed by 10 seconds of recovery, run as slow as possible. Repeat this cycle for a total of four minutes (8 rounds). If you cross train, this cycle works for any activity.
Fartleks. Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play”. This is your license to act like a kid again. Remember playing with your friends as a kid and challenging each other to see who could run to the swing set fastest. This is that! Head out on your run, sight something in the distance like a mailbox, a sign, or the top of the hill. Run as fast as you can to that object. Then, slow down to an easy pace to recover. When you’re recovery time is nearing its end, sight for the next object. Continue this for the duration of your run. Another alternative to this is a buddy system track workout. Stand on the track, back to back. One person should have an object in their hand to use as a baton. The person with the object takes off running while the other person walks. When they meet, they pass the “baton” and the runner begins walking and vice versa. This can be a fun family competition too.
Run using the Galloway method.
Jeff Galloway is a running coach that introduced the run-walk-run program. This effective way to train works great for all levels of running and racing. Pick an interval you can sustain for the duration of the distance/time you plan to train that day. This can be 30secs run/2 min walk, 2min run/1min walk, 5min run/1min walk. You decide (there’s also an app for that). Follow my Run Walk Run Series6 W to get tips I share from Jeff Galloway.
Mix In Some Crossfit-style. Predetermine some easy-to-do anywhere crossfit moves. You know, the ones we all loathe, burpees, inchworms, etc. Run a specific distance, say a quarter to half a mile. Then, stop and perform 10-20 repetitions of one or a list of a couple of these exercises before running your next distance. Here’s a few to try: Burpees, Inchworms, Jump Squats, Tabata Squats, Walking Lunges.
One of the things I like most about all these fun, interval sessions is that anyone can do them, at their own pace, and even with their children. What better way to instill a love of running in your children then by showing them how fun it can be.
Do you have a favorite run interval? Share it with us.