No time to spare for a run??? Only got half an hour?? Let’s face it – life can be pretty damn busy. Whether its work, the kids, school run, doing the shopping, whatever it is, there’s plenty of things that can get in the way of runs you have planned. So for this week’s blog, I’ve tried to find four challenging work outs for those with limited time. These will be pretty intense to do – but will have a great impact on your regular running, whether you are training for a 5km or a marathon.
You can do these when you only have half an hour or so to spare – so could be perfect for lunch break, or squeezing in a session without it impacting on your busy life!
So here we go…
- Hill Work – ok let’s get this one out there straight away…no-one loves running up hills – am I right? – but a quick session on a hill can really make an impact . The trick with these is to try and keep moving the whole session. So firstly find a nice hill – fairly steep but also short – I like to use Eden Way (because its near my house) but Green Hill is also good – Knaves Hill and Mowbray Drive in Linslade are also nice! A gentle jog for 5 mins to warm up, and then sprint as fast as you can up the hill, once you reach your designated ‘end’ of the hill, turn around and jog slowly and gently back down – this is your recovery phase – as soon as you get back to your start point turn and sprint up again. Try not to stop at the bottom to get your breath back – the idea is to push – I would suggest the first time you try this maybe go for 6 or 8 reps – this won’t take very long – maybe 15 mins – and then a gentle jog for 5mins to warm down and then STRETCH!
- Up-Pace /Down-Distance – this session is tough, but awesome!(be warned!) – but if you want to work on speed, burning calories or improving your breathing when running it really pays you back. If you have access to the running track @ Billington Park, then it’s a great place for this – otherwise you can work out a route wherever you are – you need 1 mile of flat-ish ground – could be footpath – along the canal, round the streets – anywhere. Again – a 5 min warm up and then into the session. In this session you will run 4 distances. 1 mile, 800mtrs, 400mtrs and 200mtrs. The idea is to run each distance at a faster pace than the last, as the distance is roughly half the previous effort. The first part is to run 1 mile, as fast as you can. If you have gps watch this helps for timing – if not, just go as hard as you feel possible. After the mile – STOP. Recover and get your breath back (this should be no shorter than 3 mins, but maybe 4 or 5). The next part of the session is to run 800mtrs (again gps watch can be really helpful) – again as fast as possible. Remember, try to run this at a faster pace than the mile, as its around half the distance. Then STOP. Recover again until you have your breath back. Then run 400mtrs (once more at a faster pace than the 800mtrrs). Then STOP, recover, and finally run the 200mtrs (again faster still). Then recover, gentle jog to warm down and STRETCH!
- Progressive run – this is practicing the pacing technique we talked about in the 5km coaching sessions, for those that attended. The idea is to run a 5km – and to work on your pacing – try to start slower, and each mile increase your pace. Try to run the first mile approx. 15 secs slower than your normal 5km pace, then mile 2 at your 5km pace, and mile 3 at 15 secs faster than 5km pace. Its tricky, and can take some work to master, but it’s a great way to be comfortable pacing races, and be able to know when to push to improve on your PB’s. This session – depending on your 5km time may take a little longer than sessions 1 and 2 above – but afterwards, don’t forget to STRETCH!
- 400/100 – once again, for this session having a flat area to run would be best. The running track would be great, but if not you can use streetlights as handy markers (typically they are around 200 mtrs apart). So warm up – and then start – the plan with this session is to run 400mtrs at a flat out sprint – as fast as you can go. Once the 400mtrs is finished don’t stop, but ease into a really slow, gentle jog (only just more than walking pace) for 100mtrs….then straight into another 400mtrs all out sprint…..then back into 100mtrs recovery jog. If you are using the running track, handily the benches are positioned at 100mtr increments (how nice!). The number of reps you want to attempt in this is up to you – perhaps the first time you try it go for 4 or 5, but then try and add one more on next time, and the time after…..but however many you try – after run 5 mins jog as a warm down…and the STRETCH! (if you really want to wear yourself out, switch this to a 800/100 – so 800mtrs effort, 100 recovery…but walking the next day might be sore!)
I hope these have given you some ideas of making the most of a short run….sometimes it’s easy to think ‘well I only have half an hour so what’s the point’ but if you did one of the above sessions a week you’d be amazed at the difference it would make to your ‘normal’ every day running.
If you have any questions on the above, just get in contact!