Sessions for busy schedules

7 speedy and efficient sessions for time-poor runners

Closeup of a runner preparing his shoes for a run

Struggling to squeeze your run into a hectic schedule? Here are seven clever ways of turning a 30-minute plod into something more worthwhile. These sessions will keep you ticking over during a busy week or on a day when life is simply bigger than running!

When time is tight, and you need to get your run done quickly, you’d be surprised by how much you can achieve. A good session is not always a slow, steady plod – quite the opposite. If you want to save time and get your running done for the day, not only arethese sessions very time efficient, they will also push you a bit out of your comfort zone and boost your fitness.

1. Wind-up run of 10/10/10

This is ten minutes easy, then ten minutes steady then ten minutes at your threshold effort. Gradually progress the pace of the run and ensure that there is a definite pace change on each minute section. Sustain the last ten minutes at an even effort.

2. 30-minute out-and-back run

Run out for 15 minutes at a steady pace/effort, then turn and run the same route back at a quicker pace, aiming to get back to where you started a couple of minutes’ quicker. Aim to get back in 13 minutes and try to keep this session on a flat road.

3. Bread and butter theshold session

Five-minute warm-up then 4 x 5 minutes at threshold effort (60 second jog recovery in-between the blocks), followed by a gentle twominute warm-down. Aim for the blocks to be run atthreshold, i.e an effort of eight-8.5 out of ten or a few words answer pace. You should be working hard but still in control. The shorter recoveries make this session more challenging.

4. 30-minute flip-over session

Three minutes steady/three minutes at threshold or tempo continuously for 30 minutes. This session is never super-fast and never super-slow. Get into a nice rhythm of running steady for three minutes, then a little faster, then back to steady for three minutes then a little faster again, and so on.

5. 5K intense session

Five-minute warm-up, then five minutes at threshold, then 5 x 2 minutes faster than your 5K pace. Take a two-minute jog recovery inbetween the hard two minute blocks. Ensure you work very hard. Each two-minute effort should feel like thelast 1K of a hard 5K race.

6. Continuous hills

Ten-minute warm-up, then 20 minutes of continuous hills. The hill should be roughly a ten per cent gradient. You run up for 45-60 seconds at threshold effort, turn and run down still at threshold effort,  then turn and run up again and keep this going continuously for 20minutes at least. This is not hill sprinting and the effort should be eight-8.5 out of ten (threshold) and consistent. Keep the pace going on the downhill and refrain from using it as a recovery.

7. Speed session

Ten-minute warm-up, then 10 x 1 minute hard/1 minute easy. A simple way to keep in touch with pace and speed.


Women's Running

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