Many of you will complement your circuit training or weight sessions with one or more jogs or runs each week. It’s a great way to strike a balance between strength-based training and cardio.
Just like it would be sub-optimal to do the same strength-based training each week, it’s a good idea to mix up your runs too. You can do this by varying the distances you run, the terrain you run on (including the hills), and crucially the speed you run at. Try occasionally running deliberately more slowly than you usually do. Or challenge yourself with a quicker ‘tempo’ run, even it it means you need to pause for rest every now and then.
A really efficient way to increase your running performance is to do some interval runs. You can do these either on the flat, or better still, on a hill. You’ll be sprinting, and running up hill puts less stress on your legs than the same effort would on the flat.
Here’s a 25-30 minute workouts to try:
- 5 minute warm up run – easy pace
- 8-10 intervals of:
- 30-45 second sprint at full or almost full pace
- 60-90 second recovery at very very easy running pace, or walking.
- 5 minute warm down – easy pace
If you do this once a week for a few weeks you will notice the difference in your performance on your ‘normal’ runs. Intense intervals improve your aerobic and anaerobic endurance and increases your VO2 max. Plus, the training stimulus on the muscles is higher in the case of intense interval runs. This means that the muscles require a lot of energy for repairing and building muscle tissue during the recovery phase. The post-workout “afterburn” effect also burns additional calories.
Let me know how you get on if you give it a try. It’s an ideal workout to do if time is limited or you just feel like letting rip!