Discover the Fountain of Youth
Decreasing-time workouts are your key
Over the past 25 years, I have experimented with decreasing time workouts, and now believe they are ...
Illustration by Kevin Howdeshell
Over the past 25 years, I have experimented with decreasing time workouts, and now believe they are a runner's Fountain of Youth. In these workouts, the pace increases throughout the run, and since there is no rest period, they may be the toughest workout a master can do—but offer the greatest reward.
Previously, I only recommended them for the young guns but, after working with numerous masters, found that decreasing-time workouts are beneficial for all ages. However, you should be a seasoned master trail runner and/or have a well-developed base before adding decreasing-time workouts to your schedule.
So Simple a Trail Runner Can Do It
The concept is simple—repeat intervals, up to five times, running each one faster than the previous. You will learn pacing, how to push mentally and physically harder as you fatigue and to run negative splits (the ability to run the second half of your workout or race faster than the first half).
Pick a loop of one-half mile to three miles, depending on the length of the race or run you are training for (see below).
|Interval Distance||Race Distance|
|5K to 10K|
|One mile||10K to 10 miles|
|Two miles||10 to 15 miles|
|Three miles||15 to 100 miles|
This workout is taxing, so tackle it when you are well rested.
For this example, I'll use interval pacing for a 40-something-year-old master running a two-mile loop. In the first session, do three repeats. Run the first loop conservatively, i.e. add 30 seconds to your average running pace. If you usually run a mile in 8 minutes, run the first loop at 8:30 pace or 17 minutes. For our 40-something runner, loop two should be 15 seconds faster, i.e. 16:45, and loop three should be 16:30. Though running still slower than your normal pace, you will have increased your effort as the workout progressed.