Although most of us typically dial back the intensity in our training at this time of year, there is still a lot to be said for some short and sharp injections of speed, be it in the pool, on the bike, or out running. This run workout incorporates just enough short speed intervals to keep your body from getting stuck in slow and steady mode—and perhaps most importantly, to help keep you feeling fresh and motivated by mixing things up.
Begin with an easy 20-minute warm-up, with the first five minutes at nothing more than 5/10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and gradually increasing that to ~7/10 by the end of the warm-up. Feel free to include a few build accelerations (no more than 20-30 seconds) throughout the last five minutes of the warm-up if you desire.
You’ll then start the main set, which is seven rounds of two minutes on followed by two minutes off. The beauty here is that, based on how your body and mind are feeling, you can adjust how hard and fast you make the on intervals, but you certainly shouldn’t be forcing the intensity or pushing it: think controlled speed and effort, at 8-9/10 RPE. It’s then important to follow up with a very easy two-minute off interval—by no means a walk, but an easy jog that is distinctly different (think RPE 5/10) and polarized to the on interval that preceded it. For more on polarized training, check out this article here.
Roll through these seven rounds, making sure to keep pace and effort as consistent as possible as you progress. Wrap up the workout with a cruisey 10-minute cooldown where you bring your heart rate and breathing rate back down.
One-Hour Workout: Two-Minute Run Speed Intervals
20 min. easy running, 5/10 RPE to begin with, building to 7/10 RPE. Include a few 20-30 sec. accelerations towards the end if you wish.
7 x (2 min. on @ 8-9/10 RPE followed by 2 min. off @ 5/10 RPE) – ensure there is a real difference between your on and off paces
10 min. easy jog