If you want to improve your fitness and grab a new PB, speedwork is absolutely necessary. This is true no matter what distance you’re training for, from a 5k all the way up to a marathon and beyond. The 30/60/90 workout is a great way to inject some speed into your training, and it can be modified to work for a variety of distances.
The intervals in the 30/60/90 workout are short, which allows you to push yourself harder than you would in a longer tempo. This means you can run much faster than your race pace and really hit your legs with some speed. The recovery time is also short, however, which allows you to still build some fatigue resistance, because you don’t have the chance to fully recover between intervals.
The workout also forces you to change up your pace throughout, forcing you to stay engaged and focused the entire time. This is important no matter what distance you’re training for, because it’s easy to let your mind wander even during a 5K.
This workout is as simple as it sounds: each set contains three intervals of 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and 90 seconds. The rest period is equal to the length of the interval that preceded it, so after the 30-second interval you get 30 seconds rest, after the 60 you get 60 seconds of rest, and after the 90 you take 90 seconds of rest. As for pacing, you want the 30-second intervals to be your fastest, and your 90-second intervals to be at your goal race pace. For example, if you’re training for a 10K, run the 30s at 3K pace, the 60s at 5K pace, and the 90s at 10K pace.
To really benefit from this workout, you’ll want to do at least four sets. If you’re training for a longer distance (say, a half-marathon or more), you can simply add more sets to the workout. The rest between each interval should be a very slow recovery jog, not standing. Here’s an example of how to put this workout into practice:
Warmup: 15 minute easy jog, followed by drills and strides
Set 1: 30s hard/30s easy / 60s hard/60s easy / 90s hard/90s easy
Set 2: 90s hard/90s easy / 60s hard /60s easy / 30s hard/30s easy
Set 3: 30s hard/30s easy / 60s hard/60s easy / 90s hard/90s easy
Set 4: 90s hard/90s easy / 60s hard /60s easy / 30s hard/30s easy
Cooldown: 10-15 minute easy jog followed by light stretching.