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Whether you’re in the middle of a robust training cycle or just getting off the couch, here’s a workout that can be modified to your liking. It’s a doozy, hence the “mayday.” See modifications below.
Run 2 to 3 miles easy warm-up, really letting your body ease into the effort.
Run 1 minute fast, followed by 1 minute easy, then 2 minutes fast with 1 minute easy, then 3 minutes fast.
Do 5 minutes easy and then do it all again.
Run 2 to 3 miles easy to cool-down, letting your body run a bit faster with steady running if you feel good.
On the first set of intervals, focus on running smoothly, imagining you are running a 5K or 10K rather than a sprint. You should finish that set feeling invigorated, not torn down. On the second set, let it fly a bit more, thinking 5K to start and doing the final 3-minute interval with extra juice. If you’re advanced, you can add another set. For the final miles, you may feel energized, in which case adding some faster steady running can supercharge the aerobic stimulus.
The intervals are long enough for a quality effort around VO2 max, but short enough to maintain focus and form. If you’re just starting out and haven’t developed your VO2 max, a stimulus like this will improve your maximum aerobic capacity. For athletes that have already developed their VO2 max, it will improve your velocity or power output around that effort level, leading to better running economy. And studies show that better running economy at fast paces usually leads to every effort level feeling easier, not just fast ones.
How do you feel? Relaxed? Present? Bonking? Now go foam roll.