Workout of the Week: The 3 x 3 Cutdown

We're in the midst of marathon season which means the long run takes on an extra level of importance if you're training to race 26.2 miles. The 3 x 3 Cutdown is one of my favorite go-to long runs to help develop the specific fitness and skills necessary to succeed on race day. Here are the details:

7 Habits of Highly Effective Runners

As runners, we all have unique backgrounds and different reasons for getting into the sport. The following seven habits are tried-and-true behaviors the most highly effective runners — not necessarily the fastest runners — have in common and practice every day. Make them work for you and become a more motivated, happier and fitter athlete.

Workout of the Week: The Mixed Bag

Variety, it’s said, is the spice of life. It can also be the key to spicing up some of the same old workouts you do week in and week out. Can't decide between hill repeats, a tempo run, or an interval session? Try rolling them all into one workout! I call this cover-all-your-bases butt-kicker “The Mixed Bag” and it will help to stimulate fitness gains that you didn’t even realize were stuck in stagnation.

Workout of the Week: 10K Overdistance Intervals

The 10K Overdistance Interval Session is a 10K-specific workout that totals about 6-7.5 miles worth of quality work when all is said and done. It's a race-specific interval sessions will help fine-tune your fitness and boost that all-important element of confidence in the final 4-6 weeks leading up to your goal event.

Workout of the Week: Descend the Ladder

While half marathons and marathons are a matter of resisting fatigue during the later miles, 5K and 10K racing is like fighting off a firestorm for the final third of the race. No matter how comfortable the early pace may feel to you, about two thirds of the way into a fast 5K or 10K a spark suddenly catches fire and starts to spread rapidly as your legs begin to lock up and your stride shortens ever so slightly. Your quads are screaming at you to stop and your upper body tenses up as you seemingly start going backward while you struggle to maintain pace or stick with the runner in front of you. There’s nothing wrong with any of this at the end of a hard race, of course; it simply means that you’re doing it right. While your muscles are inevitably going to catch fire toward the end of a competitive 5K or 10K effort, you can train your body to slow down the burn and better handle the demands of the race in training. One of my favorite ways to do this is with the descending ladder workout.

Workout of the Week: Hills and Twos

Hills and Twos is a staple early season session for a number of top high school, collegiate, and professional programs that combines a set of short, hard hill repeats with a set of short, fast intervals. I’ve been doing some version of this workout since college, the Bowerman Track Club has their own take on it, and a couple of Georgetown runners even named their podcast after it.

Workout of the Week: Hills and a Steady Chill

This workout is all about that base. It’s a relatively straightforward session that combines a set of short (30-60”) hill repeats with a moderate dose of steady state running (think marathon-ish effort). It’s perfect for athletes early in a training block when they’re building volume and reintroducing intensity without getting too specific just yet. It’s not meant to be that hard. There are a number of ways you can manipulate this workout but I like to start with the hill repeats because the athlete is fresh and we can get more out of this element of it in terms of muscle fiber recruitment, improving power, and running with good form. The steady state afterward is purely aerobic—not too hard, but not that easy—and shouldn’t take that much out of you energetically or otherwise.

Workout of the Week: Rob Krar’s Man Maker

Hill workouts should be an essential part of any runner’s training repertoire. They provide a lot of benefits for a relatively steep price: speed, strength, fitness, focus, challenge, and confidence all wrapped into a tidy package of uphill repeats.