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One minute mastery: boost speed and endurance in sixty seconds

Combine short, fast intervals with short rest periods, repeat often

Get faster, recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibres, and build stronger legs. This simple speed session is a great workout one minute at a time.

Most of us (even pros) run easy most days, with a few days per week working on speed or running long. While both long and short intervals have their place in our speedwork sessions, it can be hard to know what is most effective. This versatile one-minute interval session should have a spot in every runner’s schedule.

The short intervals mean you can run them at a quick pace, but the number of repetitions (increase if you’re training for a marathon or ultra) improve endurance and fatigue resistance as you persevere even after you start feeling tired. You can do anything for one minute, right?

The key to optimizing this workout is managing your speed in the early intervals so that you can pick up the pace as you near the end. It can be tempting to run all-out during those first, short intervals: aim for a 5K-10K pace, and work on keeping pace steady. Run the last few intervals as fast as you can.

The workout

Warmup

10-15 minutes of easy running, followed by strides or drills

Intervals

10-12 x one minute hard, one minute easy; adjust as necessary

Cooldown

10 minutes of easy running

Don’t feel daunted if you’re a beginner and running one minute at top speed seems too hard. Try shortening the minute intervals to 30 seconds.

If you have a strong base, begin with 12 sets, but if you’re training for a longer distance, you can build up to 15-20 (or more!) sets. Remember that you’re aiming to keep your pace smooth and strong throughout, and to pick it up at the end.

Hydrate well, and make sure to make the day following a hard running session an easy or recovery day.