Variety, it’s said, is the spice of life. It’s also the key to spicing up the same old boring workouts you do week in and week out.
Runners are creatures of habit: track workout on Tuesday, hill repeats on Thursday and maybe a tempo run or race on the weekend. I don’t know about you, but after a month or two of cycling through the same set of sessions, I’m more motivated to plop my ass on the couch and watch cartoons on Saturday morning rather than head out for yet another 5-mile tempo run around the neighborhood.
So how do you break out of this workout rut? Get creative by combining a few of your favorite sessions into one cover-all-your-bases butt-kicker of a workout. I like to call it the Mixed Bag. This session will do wonders for 5K runners, marathoners and everyone in between.
Not only will the Mixed Bag help you beat the boredom, it will engage all the different energy systems involved in performing your best and stimulate fitness gains that you didn’t even realize were stuck in stagnation. The beauty of this workout is that the possibilities are essentially endless. You can substitute intervals for hills, mess around with the duration of the tempo run, or eliminate an element altogether depending on what system(s) you’re trying to tap into. Give it a shot next time you’re tempted to do the same old stale session yet again!
— Option 1: 5 x 1:00 “on”/1:00 “off” [“on” = 5K effort] followed by 3:00 recovery jog; 10-20:00 tempo run at half marathon pace followed by a 5:00 recovery jog; 6-8 x [30-second hill repeats @ 90% effort w/jog down recovery]
— Option 2: 4 x 30-second hill repeats @ 90% effort [w/jog down recovery between repeats] followed by 2:00 recovery jog; 2 x 5:00 at 10K race pace with 2:30 jog recovery between repeats; 4 x 30-second hill repeats @ 90% effort [w/jog down recovery between repeats]
— Option 3: 20:00 tempo run at half-marathon race pace followed by a 5:00 jog recovery; 5 x 30-second hill repeats @ 90% effort [w/jog down recovery between repeats]; 5:00 @ 5K race pace.
— 15-20 minutes of easy running, static stretching.