If you’re new to running, you’re probably making a lot of mistakes that you could be fixing to go faster, feel better, and really enjoy your run more. But you should be excited. That’s really a great thing. There’s so much upside for you right now, you have so much potential to be better, enjoy the sport more, and really become a better runner.
But I’m Jesse Funk and on today’s episode of Runner’s High, I’m going to share with you the number one thing that a recent guest on the Smart Athlete Podcast shared with me he sees in coaching clients, that is the problem they all have, it’s an easy fix to become a better runner.
If you haven’t spent much time with me here on the channel, you’ll wanna hit that subscribe button, stick around with me because I do a lot of shows on running. But more importantly, I interview a lot of really cool, intelligent, athletic people. On the Smart Athlete Podcast. Recently, I spoke with former pro triathlete, former division one runner, Dan Feeney.
And Dan kind of gave me some insight into the kinds that him and his wife, Melissa coach, and one of the very, very common things he sees in runners, a mistake that a lot of beginners are making that if they changed, their performance could improve dramatically. As somebody who has been running for a long time, sometimes I forget about this very simple tip, which is why I asked Dan and Melissa, I said, “Hey, do you have anything that you see often in athletes that is very, very common among all of them?” They said this is actually really common, especially among older athletes.
So, what you’re missing here is intensity. Intensity is basically a short way to say if you’re doing all of your runs at the same speed, you’re leaving a lot of speed and fastness on the table. You’re not getting the most out of your body that you possibly could if you’re all doing just one speed all the time. Now, there’s something to be said about building a base, which means going for longer at the same pace.
You can continue that pace for longer, longer, longer periods of time, and builds your aerobic capacity, which is how well your lungs work. And that’s very important in endurance running. But if you only do that, then you’re not capturing all the speed that you could. If you don’t know what I mean by base building, again, subscribe to the channel. I’ve got a video on that, you can go check that out here in a minute.
The nice thing about fartleks is that they can really be structured any way you want to structure them. Anything you want to do goes. It’s almost like if you imagine yourself as a kid again, and you’re on the playground, you just ran. You sped up and you slowed down and you chased people and you had fun.
That’s kind of the whole idea is that you’re leaning into this idea that it doesn’t have to necessarily be structured. But if you’re more of an A-type need structure to get things done, I want to give you one of my favorite fartlek structures and that is that 30, 60, 90. It is exactly what it sounds like, but it’s in seconds.
So, keep in mind, this is a collegiate workout I used all the time, our coach gave to us. We’d go out for anywhere between 10 and 12 miles for a long run. We’d warm up a couple miles, two, three, and then we would start into the workout. It would be 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, 60 seconds on, 60 seconds off, 90 seconds on and then three minutes off, rinse and repeat. It depends on the workout but maybe five to six times for us. For you, it can be shorter and you can build on that.
The beautiful thing about the 30, 60, 90 is that you get to do three different speeds in the same set, which is super cool. [??? 03:48] be doing these kind of speed changes in most workouts. And it really actually simulates racing really well because sometimes you need to put a surge in or sometimes it’s just a little bit. And that what you want to do with the 30, 60, 90 is within the set, say you’re doing it three times around, you want all of your 30s to be the same speed and all of your 60s to be the same speed and all of your 90s to be the same speed.
So, not only is it going to help you increase that intensity, which is going to increase your fitness, but I’m sneakily trying to get you to work on rate of perceived exertion; something else that Dan is a big fan of, and your pacing, which is also crucial if you want to get the most out of your body when you’re an endurance athlete.
If you want to check out that full interview with Dan and Melissa and get more of their tips, more of their life story, a lot of cool things that they’re doing; Dan working at BOA, Melissa finishing her Ph.D. in integrative physiology, which sounds really nerdy, but she’s got a lot of great tips for you as a runner. You check that out here in a second. That should be coming up on the screen. Just click on that. It’ll take you straight over that interview. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.