Build endurance and mental focus with this deceptively simple run set.

Though many of our favorite run workouts are short and sweet interval sessions, it’s still important to set aside a session that focuses on long endurance. Mentally, long endurance run sets are some of the toughest—despite the fact that they don’t require any particularly “fast” running. When we break up run sets into small segments, we make them easier to digest, but it’s important to remember that on race day we need to be consistent, whether the race is over in an hour—like in a sprint—or over the course of 12-plus hours.

This is a particularly good workout to do at the end of the early season or near the beginning of a strength/endurance phase. Unlike many of the other quality sessions we do, this one is most effective after a tough ride or swim the day before. While it’s not necessarily productive to do after a super long ride—as your mechanics may suffer too much—slightly fatigued legs will do a good job of simulating the race day bike-to-run without the added stress of a brick workout. Think of this as a brick workout done over the course of two days with a ton of rest.

Since this run workout is time based, it’s not as important to run on a perfectly flat course—in fact a track is not recommended at all. Holding a steady effort is more important than holding a perfect pace, so focus more on heart rate than minutes per mile if you have both functions on your watch. While hills are a good idea, don’t use your hilliest route as the severe ups and downs will cause too much of a fluctuation in heart rate to be useful.

Regardless of whether you do this set on fatigued legs or not, it’s very important to give yourself adequate recovery in the day or two following. Don’t plan on a tough swim later in the day, as you’ll probably break swim form often.

Warm-Up:
5 minutes easy heart rate zone 1 jogging, Rate of Perceived Exertion 2/10
2 x 2 minutes of 1-minute build to zone 3, RPE 6/10; 1 minute zone 2, RPE 4/10

Main Set:
10 minutes at zone 3, RPE 6/10
5 minutes at lower zone 4, RPE 7/10
2 minutes at upper zone 4, RPE 8/10
1 minutes at zone 2, RPE 5/10
2 minutes at upper zone 4, RPE 8/10
5 minutes at lower zone 4, RPE 7/10
10 minutes at zone 3, RPE 6/10
5 minutes at lower zone 4, RPE 7/10
2 minutes at upper zone 4, RPE 8/10

Cool-Down:
10 minutes easy zone 1, RPE 2/10