by Marathon Coach Ben Wisbey
If you are trying to fit quality running training around a working
week and domestic chores, then why not try these sessions? The
six sessions outlined below are designed to fit into a lunch break,
in the early morning before work or even after a busy day. None
of the sessions take more than 45 minutes, yet all provide a quality
work out, giving the most benefit from your training time.
Each session should begin with an easy 10-minute warm-up. This
warm-up should consist of 5-6 minutes of easy jogging, followed
by some drills such as high knees, butt kicks and strides. This
way you will be best prepared for your session. If you want to
get the most out of a session, then a warm-up is essential; limited
time is no excuse to skip the warm-up.
as important as the warm-up is the cooldown. At the end of each
session complete a cooldown consisting of at least 10 minute easy
jogging, preferably over flat terrain.
If you are pushed to get back to work, or rushing to get home
and do the daily chores, then simply cut the suggested cooldown
period to 5 or 6 minutes and promote your recovery in the shower.
How? Simply perform a series of hot/cold recovery periods while
showering post training. This is done by showering under hot water
for 2-3 minutes and then under cold water (as cold as it will
go) for 30 seconds. This should be repeated three times. This
recovery technique will aid in the removal of lactic acid and
other fatiguing by-products.
Hill repeats are aimed at developing your strength endurance and
running economy. Find a hill of moderate grade (4-5%), which is
at least 500m in length. Start off the session with a 10-minute
warm-up; then proceed into 5-minutes of running at an intensity
that is similar to your 10km race intensity. At the end of this
5-minute period you should be at the bottom of your hill, allowing
you to immediately start your first hill repeat.
hill repeat should consist of a 2-minute up hill effort; once
again at an intensity that is similar to that of your 10km intensity.
During each repeat focus on maintaining a powerful forward leg
drive and arm action while taking long strides, being sure not
to overstride or bound/leap. At the completion of each 2-minute
repeat turn around and immediately jog easily back down the hill
before starting your next repeat.
on your level of training and your running goals, complete between
2 and 4 repeats. At the completion of your hill efforts, do a
10-minute cooldown involving easy jogging over flat terrain.
repeats will allow for improvements in your strength endurance
that will enable improvements in both hilly and longer events
(10K to marathon); while the improvements in your running economy
will lead to improvements in events of all distance. Hill repeats
are also a great way for novice runners to do interval training,
as the body experiences less impact forces for each stride whilst
Tempo runs are a great method of improving endurance, speed endurance,
anaerobic threshold and running economy.
the session with a 10-minute warm-up. Then pick up the pace for
15-20 minutes, to a speed that is close to your anaerobic threshold.
This speed should equate to an intensity that you could hold for
about 15km (i.e.15km race pace). Do this session over a course
that is flat to slightly undulating.
the end of the tempo period do an easy 15-minute cooldown, which
will help you recovery from this hard session.
sessions lead to improvements in endurance, speed endurance, and
running economy, as well as a significant improvement in anaerobic
threshold. These factors play a large part in all running events,
but this session is focussed primarily on improving your times
from 10km right through to the marathon.
Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning 'speed play', and that is exactly
how you should do this type of session.
a 10-minute warm-up, pick up the intensity a little so that you
settle into a moderate, comfortable speed. Then the rest of the
session is in your hands. This is a very unstructured run, allowing
you to do an interval when you want, for how long you want and
at the intensity you want. It is best to use this type of session
to do short, high intensity intervals. For example surge all uphills
to 3km race intensity, or simply pick two points and surge between
way of adding a little spice to this session is to do it with
a partner and take it in turns of deciding when to surge and for
how long. For example, runner 1 decides to surge for 2 minutes
at a high pace, and runner 2 has to attempt to keep up. When runner
1 decides it is time to have a recovery, runner 2 is then in control
and decides when the next interval should begin, and for how long
the interval should last.
fartlek run is best done over a natural undulating course, such
as a golf course, parks, or bushland. This session should be enjoyable,
so take control of it and have fun.
sessions are able to improve all aspects of your running, depending
on the type of intervals you include. This type of running will
definitely get you used to varying your speed, which is a major
aspect of track events and short road and cross country races.
On a whole, this is a session that is interesting, beneficial,
Anaerobic Threshold Intervals
Anaerobic threshold intervals are used as a method of increasing
your anaerobic threshold. The anaerobic threshold is the point
at which lactic acid accumulation in the muscles is greater than
lactic acid removal. This is one of the major factors dictating
the speed you are able to maintain over a specified distance.
Once you are over this threshold, the accumulation of lactic acid
in the muscles will cause you to become fatigued and you must
slow down. If you are able to push this threshold to a higher
level, then you should be able to runner faster before the fatiguing
effect of lactic acid accumulation sets in.
this session off by completing an easy 10-minute warm-up as outlined
above. Then complete 2-3 repetitions of a five-minute interval
at an intensity that is similar to that of a 10k race. This should
be a point that is slightly above you anaerobic threshold, thus
being ideal for improving your threshold. Between each interval
have an easy 3-minute recovery.
session should be done over a flat course allowing you to maintain
a speed similar to 10k race pace during the intervals. Finish
the session off by having an easy 10 minute cooldown.
threshold intervals such as this are the ideal way of preparing
for 5 and 10k events, both of which require a high anaerobic threshold,
as well as the ability to work slightly above this intensity for
an extended duration. These intervals can also be done at slightly
lower intensities for those runners aiming for a marathon, but
still attempt to maintain an intensity that is hard and uncomfortable.
VO2 Max. Intervals
These sessions are short high intensity efforts aimed at improving
your maximal oxygen uptake. As always, begin with a 10-minute
warm-up. Then complete a series of 2-minute near maximal efforts
over flat terrain. Really push each interval, so that you are
maintaining a pace which is similar to that of your 3km race pace.
Separate each interval with an easy 2-minute recovery period allowing
you to freshen up a little between efforts.
on your level of running, and how you are feeling, do between
3 and 5 of these intervals. Finish the session off with an easy
10 to 15-minute cooldown.
session will create improvements in your maximum oxygen uptake;
your ability to tolerate high lactate levels; and your speed.
These are all important aspects of events up to 10km in length.
However, these sessions are very demanding on the body so be sure
to do them only when you are fresh with no residual fatigue.
Feeling a bit tired? Want to do a productive session without pushing
yourself too hard?
how about an easy recovery run with some short stride-outs interspersed?
Warm-up for 10-minutes using the standard warm-up. Then maintain
an easy/light intensity that is not much more than your warm-up
main body of the session is then made up of 5-6 stride-outs, each
consisting of a maximal (or near-maximal) sprint over about 100-120m
(13-18 seconds). For each sprint attempt to maintain a long strides
and high leg frequency. Between each effort have a 3-4 minute
recovery consisting of light jogging and even walking if required.
session should be done on an oval or a grass track that is flat
session is ideal for stimulating the neuromuscular system, which
can lead to improved technique and efficiency. This is ideal for
track runners and 5km road runners, but can also be beneficial
to runners of all distances, right up to the marathon.
These are all sessions that you can squeeze into your lunch break
or fit at the end of a busy day. All sessions are beneficial to
any level of runner who wants to improve their performance over
events ranging from a 3k to a marathon. As most of these sessions
are quite difficult, never have two high intensity sessions over
two consecutive days. To get the best out of these sessions, attempt
to be relatively fresh so you are able to work at the higher end
of your capabilities.
Ben Wisbey at email@example.com