Welcome back, runner friends! (Remember, we’re all runners this month.) For this week’s fitness challenge, we’re skipping the pushups and hills and concentrating on the fun part of running: going fast, on a flat course, with the finish line in sight the whole time.
This is my favourite running workout: 200-metre repeats. If there’s a track at your neighbourhood high school or middle school, it’s likely to be 400 metres. That means we’ll be running for just half a lap. That’s it. (I mean, we’re going to do it multiple times, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)
If you know where the start and end lines are on the track, go ahead and use those. (The finish will be at the end of the straightaway, and a staggered start on the opposite corner.) But it doesn’t really matter; just pick a spot.
If you don’t have a track available, just find a flat road or parking lot and set a one-minute timer on your watch or phone.
Now here’s what you do. Go to the track and walk or jog a few laps to get warmed up. (The first 10 minutes of any run are the worst, so get those out of the way before you ask your body to do anything tough.) Then, run just half a lap.
If you’ve been annoyed by the fact that running slower is the key to running more, now is your moment to shine. Forget slow — you’re going to cover that half-lap as fast as you damn well please. You can go all-out, if you like. If you want to be strategic about it, hold back just a teensy bit, going just a notch or two below your top speed. I find the pace of a 200 fun. Fast. You feel like you’re flying.
After you cross the finish line, slow to a walk. Take a sip from your water bottle. Then walk the rest of the lap, or backtrack on your parking lot course until you get to the starting line. By that point you should be pretty well recovered and ready to go again. (If you’re not, just rest a little more. There’s no coach to yell at you when you’re just running for fun.)
Give this workout a try and see if you love it as much as I do. If you don’t do intervals often, just do a few of these sprints — maybe four — and stick to easy runs the rest of the week. Finish off the workout with some more easy jogging, and enjoy a well earned rest.