Our running workouts may well help to breathe new life into your run, increasing your fitness and rate of weight loss – why not give them a try?
Let’s face it, running can get a little dull. You know the feeling, trudging along at the same pace for the third or fourth time in a week…It’s enough to drive you to the welcome embrace of the nearest sofa!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere beautiful, the fabulous scenery may take your mind off the miles.
If you don’t or you’re pounding away on a treadmill…
Don’t despair – there are a few running workouts that you can incorporate into your workout that can save you time, maximise your weight loss and accelerate improvements in your fitness.
Running Workouts for Good Health
Now we’ve already written an article on running for weight loss, and I won’t repeat why it’s such an effective strategy to incorporate in your weight loss or fitness regime – but what about some workout ideas?
A couple of years ago, a colleague and I trained a group of overweight, unfit men and women to run a marathon.
It was covered by the local press and proved a great advert for a healthier lifestyle as they went from a bunch of self-confessed couch potatoes to finishing a full marathon in some pretty decent times.
We tried all the following workout suggestions with them and they worked a treat in breaking up the monotony of longer and longer weekly training runs.
The variety is good from a psychological perspective in keeping things interesting and different.
But also physiologically as your body is challenged in different ways, forcing it to adapt much more quickly than it would otherwise.
The result? You can burn more fat and get fitter quicker!
Suitable for running workouts on the road, track or a treadmill, why not give these ideas a try and see if they work for you?
#1. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
For me, this is the best strategy for rapid fat loss and fitness gains. Suitable for cycling, rowing, swimming – HIIT means that you can cram more work into a shorter workout whilst maximising the potential results.
The strategy is quite simple. You combine short, high intensity sprints with less intense recovery periods.
It’s not for beginners so you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness before you try it.
Start by warming up and stretching for five minutes or so. Then sprint for 30-90 seconds, say 200-400 metres depending on your fitness level.
Then run slowly for a similar period of time or distance to recover and then repeat.
As you get fitter, try sprinting for longer/further and cut down on the recovery periods.
A typical HIIT workout should last 10-20 minutes. Brutal but very, very effective.
These are similar to HIIT, but are undertaken at a lower intensity. Rather than sprint intervals, you run at a quick pace, say 10-12 mph or whatever is quick for you, for 2-10 minutes, then walk or jog for a few minutes, then repeat.
Intervals are less intense than HIIT and running workouts can last for 30-60 minutes or more. Good for longer runs as an alternative to maintaining a steady pace throughout.
Another variation on interval training. Here you run a set distance, say 800 metres, a mile or whatever, at a decent pace for you, then slow down and run for a recovery period, say a few hundred metres, then repeat.
Never fails to amuse my kids for some reason, ‘fartlek’ means speed play in Swedish.
It’s another type of interval training. When you’re outside running and you’re warmed up, try varying your pace – sprints, up hills, jogs.
Rather than running intervals for a set time or distance, sprint to a tree in the distance, then jog for a few minutes, then sprint to a telegraph pole. Run up a hill and jog down the other side – get the idea? It’s a more flexible type of interval training as you can mix it up a bit more.
#5. Tempo Runs
These are a staple of all running workouts – or should be. The idea is that you run for a short period at a pre-determined pace and then increase the time that you run at that pace.
Say you’re training for a half marathon and you want to run it in a target time. Work out the tempo required to complete the race in that time and after a warm up, run it for 10 minutes then slow down.
Gradually increase the time you run at that tempo at each of your successive running workouts until you can complete the half marathon in your target time. Simple but effective.
We used tempo runs as the basis for our marathon guinea pigs weekly running workouts, with the other workouts thrown in as and when required to keep things fresh and different.
So, there you have it, five different running workouts that should keep your fitness routine interesting, challenging and different from workout to workout.
You’ll also burn more fat and lose weight more quickly as a result.