In many parts of the country, winter is rolling in early this year, making those cold early mornings and dark nights slightly less appealing—especially when it comes to doing speed workouts.
Fortunately, strong desire combined with a little creativity can go a long way. Give one of these four creative speed workouts a shot next time you’re dreading heading out the door to try and run fast.
Parking Garage Hill Repeats
“Yes, you can train in a parking garage! Just be careful when you go. Seek out an empty multi-story garage during off hours—early mornings, evenings or on weekends are best—and be alert while watching out for traffic. Wear something bright and visible so drivers can see you.”
Warm up: Jog for 15-20 minutes (outside the parking garage), followed by 6-8 x 20-second strides.
Workout: Since the size of the garage will vary depending on what’s available to you, simply running from bottom to top—or one level to the next—and back down without much interruption makes for a great workout. If you want a more structured workout, short “uphill” sprints in the range of 8-15 seconds are likely going to be your best option and will help you develop speed, power and strength over the winter months. Note: Avoid fast “downhill” running in a parking garage. The ramps are usually short, sometimes steep and almost always concrete, which will wreak havoc on your legs if you’re not careful.
Cool down: Jog for 10-15 minutes (outside the parking garage).
“Ever notice how cemeteries are usually one of the first places that get plowed after a big storm and are typically light on traffic throughout the day? When I lived in Massachusetts, I often ran to the cemetery closest to my house for faster fartlek sessions in lieu of going to the indoor track for interval work. The beauty of fartlek is that it can be as free-flowing or structured as you want to make it.”
Warm up: Jog for 15-20 minutes, followed by 6-8 x 20-second strides.
Workout: Take note of the connecting roads inside and around the perimeter of the cemetery and identify landmarks that are easy to spot. Option 1: Simply run a series of medium and hard efforts from landmark to landmark around the cemetery, or run hard from one road to the next. For recovery, run easily until you’re ready to go hard again. Option 2: If possible, devise a series of small, medium and large loops to use for your workout. Run the small loop at a hard and recover by running it again at an easy pace. Now do the same for the middle loop—one hard, one easy. Finally, repeat the process for the large loop. Depending on the length of the loops, you may want to repeat a second set. Maybe not. You can go as hard or as easy as you’d like for as long as you’d like. Remember, true fartlek is a free-flowing exercise—be creative!
Cool down: Jog for 10-15 minutes.
Treadmill Tempo Run
“Like it or not, the treadmill can be one of the best places to practice pacing in the wintertime, especially when finding a clear stretch of asphalt for a tempo run proves tricky. Adjust the incline to replicate your favorite outdoor route and keep things interesting.”
Warm up: Run at an easy pace for 15 minutes, followed by five faster 20-second pickups (jog easily for 40 seconds between pickups)
Workout: Run continuously for 30 minutes at your half-marathon or marathon race pace. Or, run the first 10 minutes at your marathon pace and increase the speed by 10 seconds a mile for each of the next two 10-minute segments.
Cool down: Slow back down to an easy pace (ideally 1:30-2:00 per mile slower than you just ran for the tempo) for 15 minutes
Industrial Park Interval Session
“Industrial parks are great places to go in the early mornings, after work and on weekends when you want to get a good winter workout under your belt. Vehicle traffic is either light or non-existent during off hours, and many industrial parks feature long, wide roads that loop around and are great for interruption-free running.”
Warm up: Jog for 15-20 minutes followed by 6-8 x 20-second strides.
Workout: There are a number of options (and intensities) you can choose from, but you can run intervals by time using a basic chronograph or distance using a GPS watch. Here’s a wide array of options previously featured on Competitor.com.
Cool down: Jog for 15-20 minutes
With these great workouts, you’ll enjoy getting fast each time you try them. To read more about creative speed workouts, click here. For More Training Tips Please Visit www.competitor.com, the Official website of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.