I’m a HUGE believer in goal-setting. With anything and everything you do, have some type of goal in mind. If you run just because, that’s great. Kudos to you for getting out and doing it, but why not challenge yourself and see if you can better your pace.
If the majority of your training program consists of long steady-state runs, it’s time to start incorporating some type of interval in order to promote some change & get some results. Sure steady-state cardio is great for burning fat, but doesn’t do much for you following your workout. Shoot for a little more intense workout so you can get the EPOC effect, boosting your metabolism for hours after your workout. Already do tempo runs, fartlek runs, and sprints? How about giving mile repeats a try.
For long distance runners, mile repeats can make all the difference in your finish time. Not only do mile repeats help to increase lactate threshold and V02Max, but they are EXTREMELY challenging, both mentally and physically (NOTE: for more info on lactate threshold & interval training, see previous post “4 Benefits of Interval Training”).
If you’re not following me on what a mile repeat is, it’s simply running 1 mile either all out or 10-15s faster than your race pace, followed by a set recovery time before you start your next mile.
Example for a “first-time” mile repeater:
1 mile run; 5 minute walking recovery x 4
For starters, I’d suggest 2-4 repeats with a 5 minute walking recovery. As you progress, work your way up to 6-8 repeats (obviously depending on upcoming race distance). Once you’ve mastered that, try taking the recovery time down to 3 minutes. Just be sure that when you start your next mile, your heartrate has dropped and you’re breathing is back to normal.
Be sure to consume lots of water both during & after the run!