A Runner On A Forest Trail Doing Running Workouts For Race Success

3 Running Workouts That Guarantee Race Success

BY Bob Mittleman

Can a workout really guarantee success? Maybe not, but these are three simple interval workouts every serious runner should have in their arsenal.

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Guarantee success? C’mon. Is that even possible?” Well, that depends.

If you are a believer in doing the right work and making incremental improvements, then yes, what I am going to discuss will lead to success. But if you are a “glass half empty” athlete, then you might have a hard time finding success, regardless of the workout. Certain adaptations will help you no matter how you gain them, or what your event is—but your success will always depend on your mindset.

So are you a speed demon? Are you an endurance-only athlete? Are you a combination of the two? No fear. There are great workouts that fall under both distinctions.
Let’s focus on three that can certainly lead you to great fitness and race success, no matter what type of runner you are. These three workouts are challenging enough for any fitness level, and can be tweaked to fit your program and progress. Let’s begin:

1. 30/60/90 Running Workout

I came across this workout during marathon training in the 1990’s. It worked great then and still applies today. Even better, you can use this workout for any form of race you are training for.

Start out with a 15-20 minute warm up. Then proceed to run 30 seconds at 5k pace or quicker. Your recovery is a 30-second slow jog. Next up is a 60-second push at 5k to 10k pace. Recovery is a 60-second slow jog. And finally, you wrap up your set with a 90 second run at your goal race pace, if not a tad quicker. Your recovery is a 90-second slow jog.

Getting in four sets of these is ideal for shorter distance races. If you are training for a half or a full marathon, shoot for five to six sets.

2. 1,2,3,4,5 Running Workout

I read about this workout a while back. What makes it great is that it has speedwork mixed in with endurance. You can even turn it into a ladder if you’re daring enough. It’s simple in nature yet oh-so-challenging.

Start out with a 15-20 minute warm up. Then do a 1-minute interval at 5k to 10k pace. Recovery is 2 minutes at a slow jog. Unlike in the last workout where recovery matched the interval, in this workout you’ll do a 2-minute recovery after each repetition. Next up is a 2-minute interval (again at 5k to 10k pace) and recover.
Next up is 3 minutes at tempo pace and recover. Your 4-minute interval will be at goal race pace. Tempo is okay too. Shoot for the same for your 5-minute set.

You can ladder it down, repeat it or just do one set. All is your call. In the end, it’s a great, doable workout with lactic threshold and recovery benefits.

3. One Minute Interval Running Workout

This is a simple workout that will test your speed and endurance: just run hard for one minute, then rest for one minute, and repeat.

Warm up for 15 to 20 minutes. The one-minute interval should be at 5k-10k pace. Your recovery is a 1-minute slow jog. The key to this workout is to stay even in your timing—meaning don’t blow out the first few and having nothing left for the end. In fact, it’s better to start off at a slightly slower pace and kick it into a higher gear towards the end.

Your goal should be 12 repeats. If you can, work up to 16-18 of these—the ideal duration for longer events.

There you have it. Three workouts that have been proven to lead to success. Like anything else, stay focused and watch your progress. As another coach once said to me: “If you feel like you are working hard then you are,” but you can monitor your effort, your progress and if possible your heart rate to help with your perspective.

There are a multitude of awesome training sessions at your disposal, and if you ask 20 coaches for some you will get 20 different responses. In this post, I’ve proposed just a few to get rolling. In the end, find what works best for you and play with it. Best wishes for your success!

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About Bob Mittleman

Bob Mittleman is a USATF Level One Coach as well as a recommended coach with a TrainingPeaks Level Two certification. He has expertise in guiding runners to reach their personal best at any level: from the novice looking to reach the finish line for the first time to the experienced looking for extra guidance/accountability. Learn more about Bob at his website.

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