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One-Hour Workout: 3 Run Options from a Pro

Outdoors or indoors, this week’s run workout can be tweaked according to the severity of lockdown in your area.

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As triathletes around the world continue to adapt and adjust to stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, we’ve been seeing an increasing amount of creativity when it comes to staying fit and active. This week’s one-hour workout reflects this, giving you three workout options from British pro triathlete Laura Siddall. She’s currently based with her family in the UK where it is still permitted to go outdoors once a day to exercise. Siddall says: “Everyone has different options and opportunities at the moment, and we are all learning to adjust accordingly.”

After a 10-minute easy warm-up and a short prep set of 5 x 30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy, the outdoor session involves a main set with three rounds of building pace efforts. Start with six minutes at 75-80%, then four minutes at 85% effort, into two minutes at 10K pace. Recover and take three minutes as easy running before repeating twice more. To finish, jog easy for five minutes to cool down or more if time allows. 

If you have access to a treadmill (lucky you!) then follow the same warm-up and prep set before hitting three rounds as with the outdoor session, but varying the gradient. On the third round you’ll set the gradient at 0.5 or 1% and increase your pace. Always end each round with three minutes easy run recovery.

Siddall acknowledges that some people aren’t able to run outdoors nor do they have access to a treadmill, so her “next best option” is to do run drills indoors.

She says: “There’s still lots to be gained from running, even if you are restricted to being indoors. These drills can all be done on the spot and will have a very similar effect—or they can be done in a small space. If you do have more space, you could do these drills then go for your run. The focus for many is to improve the efficiency of foot contact with the ground.”

She adds: “Remember to keep good form throughout these drills. They are not designed to build or maintain fitness but to work on form and technique.”

See below for the full list of drills.

One-Hour Workout: COVID-19 Run Options

Run Option 1: Outdoors

Warm-up

10 minutes easy

Prep Set: 5 x 30 seconds fast/builds, 30 seconds easy running

Main Set:

Repeat 3 x

6 minutes at 75/80%
4 minutes at 85%
2 minutes at 10K pace
3 minutes easy running

Cooldown

5-10 minutes easy

Run Option 2: Treadmill

Warm-up

10 minutes easy

Prep Set: 5 x 30 seconds fast/builds, 30 seconds easy running/rest (jump your feet either side of treadmill belt)

Main Set:

Three rounds as follows:

Rounds 1 + 2 – Pick a pace that you can maintain for this build:
6 minutes at 2% gradient
4 minutes at 4% gradient
2 minutes at 6% gradient
3 minutes easy running/recovery

Round 3:
Set the gradient to 0.5 or 1% and increase the pace, either go with a guide from below, or just go with feel and flow:
6 minutes at 75/80%
4 minutes at 85%
2 minutes at 10K pace
3 minutes easy running to end

Cooldown:

5-10 minutes easy running

Note: You could replicate this session outside if you can find a suitable hill for the reps.

Run Option 3:

Repeat these for 20-30 minutes.

  • 4 x 30 seconds High Knees/30 seconds rest
  • 4 x 30 seconds A Skips/30 seconds rest
  • 4 x 30 seconds B Skips/30 seconds rest
  • 4 x 30 seconds Heel Kicks/30 seconds rest

(see below for full how-to explanations of A Skips and B Skips)

High knees
  • 10 x High Knee into lunge forward (on each leg) — Standing on the left leg, raise the right leg to 90 degrees, pause for a count of 1-2 seconds, then raise up onto the toe of the left leg and step forward with the right leg into a lunge. Stay slow and controlled. Step forward out of the lunge, or step back out of the lunge and repeat on the other leg.
  • 10 x Heel Pick-Ups — Standing tall, quickly pick the right heel up to your butt, and use your right hand to grab it at the top. You can then hold for 5 seconds stretching the quad and hip flexor, and even bend the left leg slightly and move the right (bent) leg back to increase the stretch. Then release. 

Siddall says: “The key thing here is that the whole movement should be in one plane of motion. When picking the heel up to your butt, the aim is to get the motion going straight up vertically. Not flicking out to the side, not having the knee move out. Just as if there is a piece of string from the butt to the heel and the heel is sliding straight up it. The same applies as you go into the stretch—keep the knees together and everything in the same plane.”

Repeat on the left leg until you’ve done 10 each side.   

A Skips:
Siddall says: “These are similar to the traditional high knees drills, but are more of a hop on one leg, before transferring to the other leg. Skip or hop, lifting your left knee to 90 degrees (waist height), while keeping your right leg (back leg) straight towards the ground, but pushing off your toe into the air (the skip/hop). Continue to move (forward) alternating the skips/hops between legs.” 

B Skips:
Siddall says: “These are similar to A Skips, but as you lift the left knee (or lead leg) to 90 degrees at waist height, then kick the foot out straight (and horizontally) before bringing your foot down to the ground. Almost think of it as if you have kicked and you are bringing your foot back to the ground or you are scraping something off the bottom of your shoe.”