Fartlek, sprints, pick ups, push paces, intervals, death. Whatever you call them it’s not secret how much I love running intervals and how important I think they are for your cardio, running, and overall health. But, sometimes, you just don’t want to run fast. After all, why pick up the pace when you could just lope along comfortably for the duration of your run?
Well, when you have an interval workout scheduled, and are just not getting the motivation to make it happen, there are a few quick runs you can complete to still get all the benefits of fast running (or walking!).
These interval runs appeal to me because 1) the pick ups are short duration, 2) they take little thought, and 3) they still kick my butt!
Aim for 12-18 minutes of fast running for each interval workout if you’re focused on a 5k. It’s enough time and distance to get your body used to fast running, but not so much that you’re going to fatigue your muscles.
Please make sure you warm up by lightly jogging, or fast walking, for 5-10 minutes and then stretching any tight areas before starting the sprints.
1. 4 Tabatas. Complete one, full 4-minute tabata, pushing the pace on the 20 seconds “on”. Move at an easy pace for 2-3 minutes and then complete another full, 4-minute tabata. Repeat this pattern for a total of 4, full tabatas. 20 seconds may not sound like much, but they will get you!
2. 10 x 60 Second Push Paces. Whatever your distance for the day is (2+ miles), pick up the pace for 60 seconds as you feel like it. Go back to your easy pace for at least 30 seconds between each push.
3. Increasing Seconds Interval Workout. This one starts you out with a short interval and slowly builds you up mentally and physically. The minute push pace doesn’t seem too bad when you finally get to it.
4. Short Focus Interval Workout. The minute push will feel a bit long, but after a few, you will hardly notice it.
5. Short Interval Workout for that Finishing Kick. Another workout that starts you off short and builds you up. Once you hit that second 2 minute push pace though, you’re home free!
6. 10-20 x 30 second Push Paces. This is one of my favorites for when I really can’t get motivated and muster up a full 12-18 minutes of fast work. It’s quick, and I can do anything for 30 seconds. Move at an easy pace for 60 seconds between each one.
RQ: What is your favorite type of interval workout – format or distance?