Posted by: Joe English | January 26, 2012

Training — Five Ways to Spice Up Your Runs

running-advice-bugWe’re a couple of weeks into the new year and I’m already hearing from people that a bit of malaise has set in. The runs are happening, but the eager enthusiasm of the first two weeks has passed. A look outside at a cold rain-shower has them saying, “I guess I could take a day off.” This is the time to spice up those workouts to keep yourself motivated. So today I presented five tips to spice up your runs!

Spicy Tip 1 — Sprint between the traffic lights — So let’s say that your live in an urban center with lots of traffic lights and short blocks. This can be a drag, because you end up running from light to light and then waiting. Well, here’s a fun way to spice up these urban runs: turn your urban run into an interval workout by running hard between the lights and using the light as a recovery period. My friend Coach Dean once told me he was in the best shape of his life when he lived in urban areas and did this type of workout. Start out by warming up and then when you’re ready push yourself hard up to a traffic light, stop at the light and wait, then go again when the light changes to green. Here’s a tip: you do need recovery between the hard intervals, so if you happen to catch the lights at a green light, wait a cycle to give yourself a breather.

Spicy Tip 2 — Turn your workout into a game — You may or may not have heard the funny term “fartlek”, which is a term for a type of mixed speed running workout. Whatever you call it, turning a workout into a game of tag or follow-the-leader can be a lot of fun. Here’s how it works. Find yourself a couple of people and take turns leading. The leader sets the pace and/or tries to outrun the other people in the group. When someone is caught, take a breather of 30 seconds to one minute and then the person that caught that last person gets a chance to take off. Here’s a tip: you need to be somewhat closely matched to play this game or someone will just take-off and no one will be able to catch them. You can overcome this by setting a limit — if they haven’t been caught in 30 seconds then they need to come back and give someone else a turn.

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