Every runner loves a challenge, especially a workout challenge that takes them outside of their comfort zone. Since you’re probably more than comfortable with long slow duration style training, I thought I’d mix things up for you by providing three killer interval workouts and then daring you to try them. Be warned though, they’re not for the faint hearted!
1) The Devil’s in the Details
6 Rounds of 6 Runs (60m) with 60 seconds rest!
Start by marking out approximately 60m, ideally you would have one of those large measuring roller devices used in athletics, but if not you can always go just over half way on a 100m straight on a track. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a track though, just take your best estimate.
You then need to run that 60m at a good pace. I don’t necessarily mean a sprint, rather a good fast run at around 70-80% effort. When you reach the other end you’ve got sixty seconds to recover before you have to perform you next 60m run. You have to perform 6 runs in order to complete 1 round.
You’re aiming to complete 6 rounds to finish the full workout, and you’re allowed 2 minutes rest between rounds.
If you keep to the correct timings each round should take no longer than 8 minutes, and the whole workout should take no longer than 54 minutes.
To be fair, though, a lot of people won’t make it to the end of the workout. You’ve got to survive 36 fast paced runs and almost an hour of fluctuating heart rate.
2) The Bad-Weather Beater
This is a sneaky little interval workout I put together for those days when the weather is so bad you REALLY don’t want to have to go outside. So if there’s torrential rain, hail or gale force winds you can still get an amazing fitness workout done. Don’t go thinking this is an easy day though, by the time you’ve completed this you’ll be begging to go back outside.
5 total rounds of…
30 seconds mountain climbers
30 seconds jumping jacks
30 seconds burpees
30 seconds High Knees
You get 15 seconds rest between each exercise, and each exercise should be pushed as hard as possible.
Each round takes about 3 minutes, and you get 2 minutes rest between each round. The whole workout will take about 23 minutes in total, which also makes it perfect for when you’re short on time.
If you enjoy this workout, you can also check this awesome article on Tabata, an intense 20-second work, 10-second rest interval workout.
3) Paarlauf, or ‘Partner Running’ (Also known as cricket pitch in some running circles)
This old school interval workout has been a favorite of track and running coaches for decades, so you’re getting a real taste of running history with this one. The basic premise is that one partner performs a longer, higher effort run whilst the other partner performs a shorter, lower effort recovery run. When the high-effort runner has completed their lap, the partners switch. This type of workout can be done with loads of different distances, but here’s my favorite.
- Long Fast run – 200m
- Short Slow run – 50m
I love these distances because they work perfectly on and across a standard running track. Partner A sets off on a 200m fast run around half of the track, whilst Partner B sets off directly across the middle of the track to meet Partner A when they finish. You can then tag your partner and swap, so Partner B runs the next 200m around the track and partner A jogs directly across the middle back to where the whole thing began.
The simplest way to perform this workout is to set a timer and just keep going until the time is up. For a good challenge try 30 minutes.
The beauty of this session is that it brings out your competitive side, so both runners push each other hard and you end up with an amazingly challenging interval workout.
Top Tip: Make sure you get a partner of a similar ability level or you’ll get a rubbish workout because you’ll be waiting too long for them to finish every time. If you do have to train with an ability mismatch, then make the better run do a slightly longer route. So in the example above, the slower runner would do the normal 200m fast route, but the faster runner would do a 300m route.
And now collapse
If you’ve just finished one of my little challenges then you’ll be pretty much ready to collapse straight afterward. Before you do though make sure to do a cool down and some light stretching to keep yourself happy and healthy. And don’t worry if you didn’t quite manage to complete the workout on your first attempt. Just keep getting fitter, keep training and eventually you’ll manage it.
Good luck, and let me know how you get on.