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3 winter running workouts to keep fitness at the max

These workouts will keep your fitness level high even if your mileage is low

man running hard in winter

Many of us find it challenging to get out the door when the ground is covered in snow, or when the temperature dips so low we have to load up on layers. These workouts are short enough that your toes won’t get cold, but challenging enough to keep fitness at a max, even if your mileage is lower than usual.

woman running in winter

Surge sets

The short pace-pickups will keep your legs feeling peppy without overloading them.

Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running

Run pickup intervals (short, fast intervals), with each set of intervals at a slightly faster pace or effort: two x 90 seconds at 10K pace, with 90 seconds of recovery between each interval, four x 60 seconds at a slightly faster pace, with 60 seconds recovery between each interval, four x 30 seconds hard running with 30 seconds recovery between each interval, and finally four x 15 seconds at your hardest effort (with 15 seconds of recovery between each interval).

Cool down with 10 minutes of very easy running.

woman running in winter


This fartlek-style countdown workout targets endurance and boosts your ability to run on tired legs.

Warm up with an easy 20-minute run, and then run harder intervals of five, four, three, two and one minute(s), each followed by a recovery jog of the same duration.

Cool down with 20 minutes at a steady pace to finish the session.

There’s no need to focus on hitting particular paces during your intervals in this one–simply focusing on progressively picking up the pace midrun will build fatigue resistance and improve your ability to focus midrun.

Woman running in winter

One-to-one workout

This is a great simple workout, easy to tweak to make more or less challenging. Feel free to shorten your intervals to 30 seconds each, or, after you’ve mastered the one-to-one session, kick it up to two minutes on and off.

Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running.

Run one minute “on” at a faster pace, and one minute “off” at a recovery pace, repeat for 20 minutes.

Progressively increase the speed of the harder sections so that you’re running at 10K effort or pace by the end of the run.

Cool down with five-10 minutes of easy running.

Remember to follow a speed session with an easy running day or a rest day.

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