Slow Jog Rest
Sometimes you might have a rest interval that is anywhere from three to five minutes long, usually during some type of broken tempo run, like 3 x 2 miles with 3 minutes rest. In this case, because the rest is so long, utilizing a very slow jog after you’ve caught your breath is the best option.
Like walking, a slow jog helps keep the blood flowing through your legs and body, which will make the start of the next repeat a little less jarring to the body. In addition, slowly jogging is a good way to stay moving and make the workout feel more continuous.
In terms of pace, the slow jog should be more like a shuffle than a run. You’re not trying to set records or prove how tough you are — your goal is to get as recovered as possible for the next repeat. I often find that a pace about one or two minutes slower than your normal easy pace is a good fit.
Unique Use Case
Implementing a jogging rest can be a good way to “combine” workouts with a long run should you have a short training segment or miss a tempo run during the week. I often have athletes use a jogging (slightly slower than normal easy pace) rest between long, marathon pace repeats to combine both a long run and aerobic threshold effort. While you shouldn’t do this all the time, it can be an effective way to blend two workout goals.
A Quick Jog Rest
Training for shorter events like the 5k and the 10k requires a blend of both speed and endurance. Running a workout of 6 x 800 meters in 3:00 with 2 minutes rest is a great VO2 max workout for someone trying the break 20 minutes for the 5k. However, it’s not very specific to the demands of the 5k, since the 3 minutes rest allows you to effectively recover fully between each repeat.
A better workout to prepare specifically for the 5k would be something like 6 x 800 meters at goal 5k pace with a short jogging rest at 85 percent of marathon pace. An example for a 20 minute 5k runner would look like: 6 x 800 meters at 3:10-3:15 w/200 meters jogging (8:35 pace) rest between.
In this example, while the pace of the 800-meter repeats is slower than the VO2 max session, the speed of the rest makes this workout much more difficult and 5k specific. In this instance, you’re teaching yourself how to run 5k pace with as little rest as possible.
By not fully recovering and jogging quickly between repeats, you still improve your ability to run at race pace, but you ensure you have the aerobic strength and support to maintain goal pace on race day.
Don’t let the simplistic nature of a rest interval fool you. You can experiment with what you do during rest periods to change the nature and focus of any workout. It’s just one more way you can fine tune your training for optimal results.