Today, we are going to talk about 3 great workouts for (beginner) runners.
The first workout that all new runners should do is fartlek (Swedish for speed play). Fartleks can be unstructured or structured – the choice is yours! Unstructured fartleks work something like this…: Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy running, then pick a place (parked car, tree, lamp post, etc) in the distance and run at a faster pace towards it; the recovery is the next object you choose. Go in this fashion until you’ve decided you’ve had enough. The structured fartlek is very much the same, however, in this case you can use a watch as your guide. Say, for example, 3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy and repeat that for 10-15 times. Either way, you’re getting in some faster running and taking a break in between each one.
Hills are another great workout for runners. Whether the hills are long or short, steep or gradual, you can get a great workout in. For early season, I suggest doing longer hills at a steady pace (think 10k to half marathon). As you get into your season, you can switch from longer & steady to shorter & faster. This will help generate power and speed that will propel you to faster times.
400s are another great workout because you can find a track anywhere and do anything from speed work to threshold & tempo runs around a track. Below are the three main types of workouts you can do that are 400 meters in length.
400s as speed work
For speed workouts, you’ll certainly want lots of recovery. The amount of them you do should be based on the amount of miles you run in a week. Typically speed workouts should be no longer than about 5-8% of your weekly mileage.
400s as interval (5k) work
Interval workouts should be done at 5k pace and require roughly the same amount of recovery as the repeat took. For example, if you do a 400 in 80 seconds, you should recover (jog) between 70 and 90 seconds. The amount of interval 400s you do, again depends on the amount of miles you run in a week with the general rule being no more than 8% of your weekly mileage.
400s as threshold work
Threshold workouts are the primary workouts for marathoners and are done at a comfortably hard pace. This pace is usually 10k though marathon pace. With threshold, you don’t need a ton of recovery because the pace isn’t all that fast or taxing. Typically a 5 minutes of threshold to 1 minute of recovery is the standard amount of work:recovery time. As with speed and interval, threshold work should be done, but with no more than 10-15% of your weekly mileage.
Whatever type of runner you are, fartleks, hills and 400s should always be a staple in your workout routine. They are three great ways to build strength and stamina that will prepare you to run fast in your next race.