Use this simple, but effective, run session to bleed some speed into stagnant winter legs.
This week’s workout comes from 2008 American Olympian and coach Jarrod Shoemaker. Shoemaker is the only male American to win an ITU World Triathlon Series race—he is also a two-time world champion (duathlon and under-23 triathlon). He is currently transitioning from racing professionally to coaching full time and works with age group athletes as well as starting a development and draft-legal squad based out of Clermont, Florida.
The main idea behind the workout is that the speed increases as the interval time decreases. Focus on a stronger stride and more powerful push off as each set progresses. “Work on being steady during the three minute intervals, not starting off too fast,” warns Shoemaker. “By starting off with longer intervals and descending to faster intervals, this will allow you to work on speed while your legs are tired.”
This is an excellent workout to do on a treadmill to work on leg speed, but be sure the treadmill can ramp up speed fast enough on the shorter intervals. In the winter, this set on a treadmill is a good way to turn over your legs without straining too much—just be sure to take a realistic account of where you are in your training if you’re in the offseason. If done outside, be sure to find a spot where you won’t be met with any interruptions, particularly during the shorter, faster sections.
“This one-hour workout starts with an easy warm-up jog followed by drills and strides to open up the legs,” says Shoemaker. “Warming up at your own pace is very important to allow your body to move at the pace you feel comfortable at. Trying to warm up at somebody else’s pace could ruin your workout.” If this is your first fast session of the winter, be sure not to skip the cooldown at the end.
3 x (3 minutes at 10K race pace, Rate of Perceived Exertion 7/10, with 2 minutes easy jog recovery)
3 x (1 minute at 5K race pace, RPE 8/10, with 1-minute easy jog recovery)
3 x (30 seconds at mile race pace, RPE 9/10, with 1-minute easy jog recovery)
10-15 minutes easy jog