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Running intervals workouts can feel intimidating. If you’ve never run them before, it’s hard to know where to start. Running intervals on the road is not only a great beginning point, but it can also help you avoid injury as you add a more intense running into your weekly routine.
Taking to the road instead of the track does several things: the rolling terrain slows you down, preventing potential strains. If you’re a new runner, chances are you’ve made some significant gains in your cardiovascular fitness in a relatively short time, but structurally your ligaments, tendons and muscles aren’t quite used to this new activity. Sometimes when we run on a track, we can push harder than our muscles, tendons and ligaments are ready for, which can lead to injury. Running on the road also simulates running in a road race, which is where you’ll be putting your newly acquired speed to the test. If you can get comfortable running uncomfortably on familiar terrain, you’re much more likely to be able to push yourself to that PR on race day.
These three workouts aren’t just for beginners either. They are great for runners who are building mileage after a hiatus from running either due to injury or pregnancy.
4 x 3 minutes hard, 2 minute recovery
Run an easy one mile warm up. Then begin intervals with three minutes of hard running at 5K pace (on an effort scale of 1-10, this would be about an 8-9), recover with two minutes of easy running. Repeat the set of three hard, two easy, three more times. Cool down with a 5-10 minutes of easy running.
3 x 5 min hard, 3 min recovery
Run an easy one mile warm up. Begin intervals with five minutes of hard running at a pace somewhere between 5K effort and 10K effort (on an effort scale of 1-10, this is about a 7-8). Recover with three minutes of easy running. Repeat five minutes hard and three minutes easy, two more times before running a 5-10 min cool down.
2 x 10 min hard, 5 min recovery
Run an easy one mile warm up. Start the interval with 10 min hard running around 10K pace (on an effort scale of 1-10, this is about a 7), recover with five minutes of easy running. Repeat one more 10 min cycle and cool down with 5-10 minutes of easy running.
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