How to Do It:
In this workout, alternate between your easy, medium, and fast paces. Warm up with three to five minutes of walking. Then ramp up to your easy pace (see below) and hold it for two to three minutes. Then shift into your medium pace and sustain it for one minute. Then shift into the fast pace for 30 seconds. Repeat the cycle two or three times. Walk for five minutes to cool down. Use this guide to find each gear:
Easy: Conversational pace; a pace where you could chat with a friend running alongside you. This is a rhythm that feels like you could maintain it all day long if you had to.
Medium: This should be faster than your easy pace, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re speeding. You would prefer not to hold a full conversation, but if someone asked you a question, you could answer in two- or three-word sentences.
Fast: Quicker than your medium pace. In this gear you should be able to say one or two words but, if someone asked you a question, it would make you mad because you wouldn’t want to expend the energy to answer them. Don’t sprint all-out or push to the point of pain, or where you feel you’re going to pull something. You should feel like “I’m okay, I just don’t want to do this for very long.”
What It Does:
This workout will elevate your heart rate, boost your fitness and calorie burn, and keep you from falling into a rut with the same easy pace. “It makes running fun, ups the intensity, and recruits different muscle fibres,” says Paul. “It’s like adding spice to a recipe.” By getting used to what different paces feel like, you can get more benefits out of all your workouts going forward, whether you’re doing a recovery run or racing in your first 5K. Why is that important? “If you’re aware of your running pace, you can control your effort based on the distance or the purpose of the workout or in the race,” says Paul. What’s more, it can help you stay injury-free. If you run the same pace all the time, you recruit the same muscle fibres, in the exact same way over and over. That, says Paul, sets the stage for many common overuse injuries, like runner’s knee and IT-band syndrome. “If you mix up your paces, you recruit different muscle fibres, and some differ