Unlike professional runners whose days are dedicated to running and recovering, recreational runners are typically trying to fit their runs and workouts around a busy schedule of work, family and other commitments. This means that sometimes, even the most dedicated runner has to shorten their workout to accommodate other priorities. When you’re short on time, try one of these workouts to ensure you maximize the minutes you have and get a quality session no matter how busy you are.
A fartlek is a great workout to do when you’re pressed for time because it has no pre-determined length. Even if you only have 30 minutes to spare for your run, you can still put in some high-quality work by upping the intensity of your hard sections and shortening your rest. All you have to do is randomly pick a point to run to at a higher tempo or cadence, like a tree or a lamp post. Once you have your eyes on your target, run hard to that point, then return to your baseline easy pace. Continue to do this throughout your entire run (making sure to include a five- to 10-minute warmup and cooldown), picking focus points that are varying distances away to truly tap into the idea of “speed play.” Alternatively, try a Moneghetti Fartlek for a hard workout that takes only 30 minutes.
Head for the hills
Hills are a great way to get in a tough workout in a short amount of time, and they’ll help you become a stronger and more powerful runner, too. All you need to perform this workout is a hill that takes about a minute to run up. After a 10-minute warmup, run up the hill at a hard but steady pace and use the jog back to the bottom of the hill as your recovery. Repeat this several times (depending on your time constraints), making sure you give yourself enough time for at least a five- to 10-minute cooldown.
Add pickups to your run
Increasing your effort for one- to two-minute sections of your run is a great way to increase the intensity of your run without overdoing it. After 10 minutes of easy running, start doing your pickups, followed by an equal amount of easy jog rest, until you’ve reached about 25 minutes of running. End with a five-minute cooldown, and you’ve got a quality session in half an hour.
Do a short time trial
If you usually do longer races, a day when you’re strapped for time is a great opportunity to see how you do at something a little shorter, like a mile, 2K or 3K. Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes, then crank things up a notch and see how fast you can cover the shorter distance. Follow it up with a five-minute cooldown.