TRI the Challenge – Summer: Adding Variety to Your Run

People often say that “variety is the spice of life”, and the same holds true when applied to your exercise routine. Adding variety to your aerobic workouts is one of the key components to TRI the Challenge. Within your 26.2 run or walk goal, changing up your normal routine may help provide an added physical challenge, reduce staleness and give you an added boost.

The following are a collection of ideas to help you add variety, stay motivated and strive toward successful completion of your TRI the Challenge run/walk goal of 26.2 miles over your chosen time period of 4,6 or 8 weeks.

  • Trail Running: Running on a trail versus the road is often more scenic and gives you an opportunity to experience nature, while also providing a different surface to run on.
  • Route Reversal: Simply taking your normal route backwards gives a new perspective on your surroundings, while sticking with a route/distance that you are familiar with.
  • Utilize Audio: Listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or switching up your typical playlist is a great way to add enjoyment to your run. Conversely, you may also benefit by simply not using any audio and instead taking in the sights, sounds and natural surroundings of your route.
  • Partner/Group Up: Adding a social element not only provides an enjoyable aspect to your run or walk, but also creates a network to help hold you accountable and celebrate your successes.
  • Fartlek Intervals: “Fartlek”, which is Swedish for “speed play”, incorporates increases in speed at different times during your run by using landmarks. You may decide to pick up the pace for the next 3 driveways, or 5 trees, or every time you come to a hill. After your speed up, allow yourself to slow down to a jog for a while until you catch your breath and can resume your normal running pace. You decide how many speed ups you do.
  • Dynamic Run: A workout used by former UW Cross Country and Track coach Peter Tegen. Dynamic Run workouts aim to increase your speed along with adding fun and variety. The speed in this workout is more prescribed, a “build up” means increasing your speed gradually so that near the end you are sprinting. After the build up, the pace slows to a jog as you recover and return to a normal pace. For walkers, try adding a skip for a pace change. You can slowly increase the height or the speed of your skip just like the build ups in the workouts below. 
Dynamic Run Example:
  • 1 x 10 min warm up pace, then 60 second build up
  • 2 x 5 min, 5 min normal pace followed by a 30 second build up
  • 3 x 3 min, 3 min normal pace followed by a 20 second build up
  • 4 x 2 min, 2 min normal pace followed by a 15 second build up
  • 1 x 5 min cool down run
  • Feel free to vary the total minutes of the run and the number of build ups. If you are just starting to add speed, add slowly

Whether you’re concluding your Tri the Challenge-Summer program this week, nearing your half way point or somewhere in between, congratulations on your success thus far! 

Have another great week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *