I hate running. I’m not ashamed to say it. It makes me all flemmy when it’s cold out, and sore no matter what, and I look like an asshole doing it.
I know how good it is for me because I FEEL so much better when I’m running. And long runs - for me, even 6 miles is a long run because I’m so slow - are fabulous. Just past the 3rd mile is when I start to like running, and around mile 5 is when I “get in touch with myself”.
Not TOUCH myself. IN touch WITH. Hehe!
Seriously though, sometimes you just don’t have the time or the mental ability to deal with a 6 (or more) mile run. On these days, I like “track” workouts. Track workouts are designed to up speed, but even if you’re not super hardcore, they’re intense and short bursts of energy for a short period of time. Everyone has 30 minutes! And this is what I do when I can’t make room for more:
- 800m warm-up. If you live near a track, great - that’s usually 2X around (assuming it’s a 400m track, but be sure to check). If not, use your usual way of tracking miles - eg, a garmin watch or DailyMile or MapMyRun or the treadmill. 800m is pretty much a half mile. Do this at a super comfortable (ehem, slow?) pace.
- 400m sprint-ish. Yeah I mean no, you’re not sprinting for 400m (or 1/4 of a mile) but you are going faster than you’re comfortable with. By the end of the 400m you should definitely be breathing heavily, like you just finished a short race, which let’s be honest - you sort of did! To determine the pace you should be running, check out the McMilian pace calculator. It’s awesome - you put in a time you’ve run at a specific distance (5K/10K/etc) and it spits out what should be your shorter run’s pace. If you want to be hardcore, set a goal for your 400m pace. I usually try to run my 1000m pace divided by 2.5 (to get me to 400) but maybe I should up it this summer? We’ll see.
- THEN do a 400m recovery (again, 1/4 mile). This pace should be slow, but not so ridiculously slow that you’re walking. I’m saying this because I used to walk my recoveries. I try to aim for just a bit faster than my warm-up pace, but seriously, just keep it consistent.
- Then another 400m “sprint”.
- Then a 400m recovery.
- 400m “sprint”.
- 400m recovery.
- Last 400m “sprint”
- Last 400m recovery.
- Then do an 800 cool down jog, which should definitely be slower than your recovery runs (but again, no walking!). Mostly, just jog it out to loosen your muscles!
This way, you’ve done 3 miles, which isn’t something to sniff at (and not taken forever). But instead of just jogging for three miles on the treadmill (booooooring) you’ve also done a SUPER great, intensive workout that helps your heart AND your speed.
The best thing?
No matter how fast (or slow, if you’re at all like me) you run, this workout works! Just make sure to find YOUR “sprint” and recovery paces! And don’t walk. Because that’s no fun.
Besides it takes longer, and who likes THAT.