In my “Shoes Wisely” post last week, I discussed how dangerously easy it is to excuse away a workout, especially when you’re about to move and have a to-do list a mile long. To avoid this trap I’ve signed up for the Boston Athletic Association’s Distance Medley race series for this spring and summer. The first race of the series is a 5K taking place on April 15, which is two weeks after I arrive in Boston (and only like a month from now, yikes!). And even though a 5K isn’t the world’s scariest proposition, I am determined to do well! Which means one thing: training.
The best way I have found to stay motivated, continue improving my fitness, and still fit in the workouts around work/packing/seeing friends is to have a workout schedule that is varied but still cyclical. So I have devised this weekly schedule for myself:
Monday: 3.5 mile course, somewhat easy, plus walking up some steep hills on the 1 mile walk home
(Time Trial) Tuesday: Racing myself and the clock over a 4mile course, followed by a 1 mile walk home
Wednesday: Hill sprints!
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: 3.5 miles @ tempo
Saturday: Riding! (Hour and a half jumping lesson – I will be posting about this soon)
Sunday: 5-6 miles eeeaasssyyy “fun run”
The variety helps my training and keeps me interested. Having the program be a weekly cycle keeps me on track and breaks the program down into bite-sized pieces. And it’s working! I’ve been slashing time off of my mile splits like a banshee.
The crux of this workout program is the Wednesday hill sprint workout, which I’ve been calling “get over the hump-day hill sprints,” because it’s fun to name things that otherwise sound painful. San Francisco, as some of you may have heard, is a rather hilly city. I plan most of my courses around this fact, and try to avoid too much up-hill work during my runs. But on Wednesday, I jog about a half-mile to a block that has a 9% grade hill, not much foot-traffic, and very few driveways, and I do this workout:
1. Sprint up the hill (all-out effort!) for the entire length of the block. Jog back down. Repeat 5 times.
2. After the 5th time sprinting up the hill, jog around the block (which includes another steep downhill).
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, but decrease the number of sprints by 1 each time. So you’ll do 5 sprints, run around the block, then 4 sprints, run around the block, then 3 sprints, run around the block… You get it!
The whole workout takes about 40-45 minutes, and adds up to about 3.8 miles. Depending on the hill you’re running on, your mileage may vary.
Interval workouts like this one are a great way to build speed, power, and endurance – I am seeing the results myself! You may not believe me, but even though it’s a tough workout, it’s really kind of fun.
And sometimes at the top of the hill, you get lucky with a great view!