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Outdoor Running Workout: Speed Play Intervals

Running Workout: Outdoor Speed Play

I'll admit, intervals on a treadmill are convenient. The clock is right there for timing, and you can easily adjust the pace with a push of a button. But nothing beats an outdoor workout in my book. Plus it's excuse-proof; you have to make it back to your starting point — no hopping off the treadmill and calling it quits.

Similarly, running at one pace can get a little dull, even when the birds are singing, so add some speed work into your running routine.

Here's a fartlek (no snickering, it's Swedish for speed play) workout compliments of Equinox trainer Lauren Fairbanks. She's been around the track a few times and knows the drill. Lauren calls this workout the three-two-one and if you keep reading, you will find out why.

All you need for this workout is a timekeeping device.

  • Warm up by jogging for five minutes.
  • Pick up your pace for three minutes (close to 5K pace), then jog for three minutes.
  • Speed up for two minutes; once again aiming for your 5K pace, followed by a two-minute recovery jog.
  • Now, run for one minute (not quite a sprint, but a sustainable fast pace) and recover by jogging for a minute.
  • Repeat the intervals from the beginning skipping the five-minute warmup. You start the second round running three minutes at your quick pace. This feels a little brutal after only 60 seconds of rest, but it's great training!
  • At the end of the cycle, when you reach the one-minute recovery, walk briskly for a minute instead of jogging.
  • Jog for five minutes to cool down.
  • Stretch and pat yourself on the back for your 34 minute run!

This workout is perfect for an out-and-back run; just reverse directions after your first 60-second jogging recovery. Try it and let me know what you think.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Susi-May Susi-May 6 years
I have to say I felt truly invigorated after this workout. It was hard but fun.
karinacocina karinacocina 6 years
ohh i like the sound of this! my intervals are usually one minute intense followed my one minute recovery but this looks like a nice change
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 6 years
Uh, oh.... heel strikes.
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