If you are getting tired of long slow distance (LSD) runs and want a change of pace, add some interval training with some fast / slow runs for the workout of the day. You can also opt to do intervals on the bike, rower, or elliptical if you need a non-impact day. Here are some sample intervals to help break up the monotony of running and other steady paced cardio events:
*Note – make sure you warm up very well if it has been a while since you picked up the pace. In fact, I would not recommend full speed sprinting until you have done several sets of the below intervals. Build up with 50-60-70-80-90% full speed each set.
Speed DayRun 100m fast / Run 100m slow - Start every minute on the minute, for 25 minutes. Shoot for 100m in under 15-20 seconds on the fast run, and 30-40 seconds on the slow run. Great if done on a track or athletic field.
- 200m sprint
- 200m easy
- 400m at goal mile pace
- 200m slow jog recovery (or walk recovery)
Non impact intervals:
Tabata Intervals: On any device like bike, rower, elliptical – sprint for 20 seconds then go easy for 10 seconds. Try to build up to as many sets as you can. Start off with many 10-15 sets, followed by an easy 5-minute rest set. Then repeat again if you can.
*NOTE – it is difficult to do the Tabata Interval on a treadmill so you if you must use a treadmill, try 30 seconds fast / 30 seconds slow for 5-10 minute sets with an easy rest set of 5 minutes in there. Repeat that cycle a few times to fit your fitness condition. If you are focusing of fitness test pace, try the goal pace sets to help "muscle memory" your goal pace:
Repeat 6-10 times
- ¼ mile at goal mile pace*
- Rest with 1-minute walk or if you want a challenge:
- "Rest with" squats (20) and lunges (10/leg)
*NOTE – Goal mile pace refers to the pace you need each lap to achieve the time you want on your PFT run distance. For instance if you seek a 9 minute 1.5 mile timed run, you need to run a 6 minute mile pace, or a 3 minute half mile, or a 90 second quarter mile.
Enjoy the Speed Day!
Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.