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Fine-tune your summer speed with this intense interval workout

Vancouver's Kevin Friesen reached the podium at a national championship for the first time at the Ottawa 10K. Here he shares his blistering pre-race workout.

The point of any workout should be to run hard– as hard (or possibly harder) than you will in an upcoming race. It shouldn’t be so hard that it feels impossible but it should definitely push you beyond your comfort level.

Vancouver’s Kevin Friesen was the second-place Canadian at the illustrious Ottawa 10K, an IAAF Gold Label race which doubled as the Canadian 10K Championships. His time of 30:31 was a breakthrough performance as he finished landing himself a spot on the podium at a national championship race for the first time in his career.

Friesen, who is coached by B.C.-based Richard Lee, shared a signature workout that he did one week before the race. It was meant to be an indicator workout to gauge his fitness level.

The workout: Two two-mile (3,200m) intervals with a six-minute break.

Friesen completed the eight-lap intervals in a blistering 9:17 and 8:57 (that’s faster than 3:00 per-kilometre), which was meant to be at or slightly faster than goal 10K pace. Ultimately the paces would be substantially faster than what he would run in the race.

“This [workout] gave me the confidence in my ability to change gears and hold a strong pace” says Friesen before jokingly adding that “I didn’t exactly manage to do that in the race.”

Referring to the heat and humidity he faced in Ottawa he adds, “It definitely kept me in contention in those ridiculous conditions. I’ve never collapsed at the end of a race but I literally couldn’t move for 20 minutes after finishing. It was pretty scary, but I left it all out there and came up 12 seconds short [of the win].”

When asked about his diet and nutrition, Friesen offered some rather unconventional insight.

“As far as nutrition goes, I’m not the best role model. I eat McDonald’s, pizza, and fast food somewhat regularly. The day of the race, I had a footlong from Subway for breakfast and a sandwich and donut from Tim Horton’s for lunch. I also drank at least eight 500ml bottles of water before the race and went through almost an entire tube of Nuun.”

As someone who works full time and is not a professional athlete, Friesen tries to balance his life between training, work and having fun. Expect much more from him in the months and years to come.