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3 Travel Size Run Workouts

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Short on space? These workouts will keep your run fitness in check no matter where you go.

Even if you only have a short stretch of road to work with—like the sidewalk outside your hotel—you can get in a decent session without feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel. Especially if you use workouts like these.

You’ve got: 1 mile of uninterrupted road
Do: Mile repeats

To take the boredom away from running steady out-and-backs on a 1-mile stretch of road, Matt Ison, University of California Santa Barbara head triathlon coach and an expert coach for Carmichael Training Systems, recommends this workout:

1 mile at 10K pace

1 mile with a little push: Run at 10K minus 10 seconds per mile

1 mile steady endurance: Run at 10K plus 45 seconds per mile

Repeat that and you’ve got a nice, 6-mile tempo run.

You’ve got: Half a mile of road

Do: Office park “track” intervals

What Ison does to keep his athletes from burning out on a track can work for your traveling life, too. He marks off 800 meters on a stretch of turf that’s not the track—ideally on rolling terrain. Even if your hotel is in the least inspiring cement jungle you’ve ever seen, you can usually find this much road. So after your warm-up, do this:

800 (or 3–4 minutes) at 5K pace

800 (or 4–5 minutes) easy

Run this pair three times total

If you were supposed to do a longer workout, don’t freak out. Though short, this workout is a good substitute for a longer session. “We can hold onto fitness with a lot less of a training load than we need to stimulate fitness,” says Will Kirousis, director of Tri-Hard, a coaching company based in Leominster, Mass. “You can chop training down to 30 percent of the duration you were doing before and sustain adaptations as long as you maintain intensity.”

You’ve got: A quarter mile of road

Do: The strength combo

You don’t have to choose between a strength workout and a run, says Debi Bernardes, head coach at Virginia-based U Can Do It coaching. Work strength moves in between short runs, and you’ll not only get your heart rate up, “you’ll also get the strength work done that most people are already avoiding.” This 21-minute main set does it all:

Run 2 minutes
1 minute of strength moves. See how many good reps you can get in that one minute. Rely on these seven moves or mix in your own, as long as at least one of them targets your weakest link:
Walking lunges

Learning to adapt your training on the road is a skill that’ll transfer to race day. When A-race gifts include, say, a wetsuit tear, a flat tire or forgotten run shoes, you’ll have the advantage of having dealt with adversity. That gives you an edge over the person who perfectly adhered to their training plan. Keep that in mind the next time you find yourself running intervals on a chunk of sidewalk between traffic lights.