Spice up your running routine this summer with these five fun running workouts!
Happy Friday! I’m in for a busy weekend ahead with in-laws and birthday parties and I can’t wait! But before the fun begins, today I wanted to share some fun workouts to keep your running fresh and fun. There’s a time and a place for track and speed work, but I get that sometimes the easy and long miles can become slightly monotonous. So if you’re looking to spice up your running routine, check out these five fun running workouts to keep things interesting!
5 Fun Running Workouts to Keep Things Interesting
Strides are defined as short bursts of swift running. They can easily be done on a track by running the straights and walking or jogging the curves. Effective stride workouts should be done in repetitions of 6-10, with plenty of time for recovery between effort sessions. Incorporating strides into your workout promotes an efficient running form and are a great cool-down exercise.
2. Tempo Runs
A true tempo run is done at a pace that you can race for 60 minutes. It is not a conversation pace run, nor is it a 5K race pace run. For most people, tempo pace should be right around the 10K race pace. Tempo runs, if done correctly, will improve lactate threshold while also promoting a more efficient running form.
Fartlek literally translates to “speed play” in Swedish. Fartlek running increases strength and improves form. How to execute a fartlek workout? Easy. Just run. Run hard for a little bit, then slow down to a light jog or walk. Repeat. Aim for about 20-30 minutes of fast running for maximum benefit of a fartlek workout. And don’t worry about distance, terrain, or specific speed and rest intervals. This is “play,” remember? Have fun with it. An example of an excellent fartlek workout — run between fire hydrants and walk to the next driveway.
4. Hill Repeats
Hill running is fabulous. Running hills improves endurance with very low muscle stress, and increases strength and improves form with not much strain on your ligaments and tendons. Less strain and more strength = less injury. To properly execute an effective hill workout, plan on running a sustained pace uphill while relaxing back to a conversation pace on your way back downhill or on the flats. Your pace will depend on the grade of the hill and the repetitions you do, but in general you’ll want to aim for 20-30 minutes of fast running.
Interval workouts change according to the distance and pace you’re aiming to achieve, and are also recommended for experienced runners. Experienced marathoners interested in incorporating intervals should focus on the long intervals, such as 800m – 2000m. Those running shorter races or fine-tuning race pace should focus on the shorter sets of 800m or less. Short intervals, while super fun, are not recommended for most marathoners and particularly novices as the risk of injury increases considerably and does not balance with the benefits that may be achieved.
Keeping things fun in running can help reset you if you’re struggling with burnout, boredom, or plateauing. But remember, if you’re in a training cycle or working with a coach, please stick with your plan and avoid unnecessary injury.
If you’re not working with a coach but would like to, I’m offering $50 OFF a 3-month training cycle. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention that you saw this in my blog post. This offer is only valid until next Friday — June 29th — so take advantage before it’s too late!
What’s your favorite running workout?
Do you work with a coach?
A version of this post appeared in July 2015.