The following workouts are best for those runners who don’t have their sights set on a specific race, but would like to reach a healthier weight. High-intensity interval training is a great way to burn more calories. This is especially useful if you started running to lose weight but have plateaued now that steady-state running has become easier. This plan will ask you to hit the track two times per week rather than once—make sure to give yourself at least one or two days between workouts to recover. Recovery weeks should only include one track day.
Nail Your Pace
Here’s how to get your effort right.
Comfortable: Relaxed pace and able to carry on a full conversation (recovery run effort)
Comfortably uncomfortable: Focused pace but still able to chat (marathon race effort)
Comfortably hard: Difficult to talk (half-marathon race effort)
Moderately hard: No talking (5K race effort)
Hard: Breathing hard with some slight oxygen debt (last 100 meters of a 5K race)
Weekly Workout #1: Stadium Steps (Weeks 1–3, 5–7 and 9–11)
Intervals: 4 times going up stadium steps (from the bottom to the top) at a moderately hard effort; take it easy on the way down.
Recovery: After each stadium interval, complete 2 laps on the track at a comfortable to comfortably hard effort.
Do 3 sets (12 times up the steps + 6 laps).
Weeks 4, 8 and 12: Recovery Weeks
Weekly Workout #2: Run the Straights. Jog the Curves. (Weeks 1–3)
Intervals: 100 meters (straight part of track) at a moderately hard effort
Recovery: 100 meters (curve of track) at a comfortable effort
Do 10 sets (5 laps).
Week 4: Recovery Week
Run Half a Lap. Jog Half a Lap. (Weeks 5–7)
Intervals: 200 meters at a moderately hard effort
Recovery: 200 meters at a comfortable effort
Do 6 sets (6 laps).
Week 8: Recovery Week
Run 1 Lap. Jog 1 Lap. (Weeks 9–11)
Intervals: 400 meters at a moderately hard effort
Recovery: 400 meters at a comfortable effort
Do 5 sets (10 laps).
Week 12: Recovery Week
TIA ACCETTA lives in Tucson, Ariz., with her husband, Randy, and two children. She coaches a running team called the Workout Group (WOG) that Randy started 19 years ago while training for the Olympic Trials Marathon. Tia is a Road Runners Club of America–certified running coach, studied at the Lydiard Foundation in Boulder, Colo., and works with individual runners around the country to conquer long-term running goals.