Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday when each week I share a new running or strength for runners workout! Want to receive workouts like these right in your email every week?
This week I want to remind you that running is supposed to be fun. Yes, fun! Most of us aren't elite athletes that run for the prize money when we win marathons. We run because either on the surface or somewhere deep down inside we really enjoy it.
Remember when we were kids and we would race our friends to the end of the street or chase our screaming little brothers around the block? (My brother could bench press me these days.) Somehow in our adulthood, we forgot how to have fun. Sometimes we even try to make the fun activities too serious. We can't take a walk in nature without tracking our steps on Fitbit, go for a run without analyzing our paces and heart rate or even run a race without putting crazy pressure on ourselves to perform well. I am as guilty as any.
Sometimes running is just supposed to be fun. That's why I love this stoplight workout. We can mix up the paces and have fun with it without putting too much pressure on ourselves. It reminds me of those childhood games we used to play in the old neighborhood under the street lights, when our parents had to yell for us to come home in the days long before cell phones.
Now, I wish I could be there with you while you do this workout so I could yell out "GREEN LIGHT!", "YELLOW LIGHT!", "RED LIGHT!", "GO!" but you'll just have to use a trusty timer and your imagination, like back in the old days. (I just had a birthday and I am really starting to sound like an old lady with all this good 'ol days talk.)
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THE STOPLIGHT RUNNING WORKOUT
RUN BY EFFORT: THE RPE CHART
This workout is based on the RPE chart, which is ideal for a workout you find on the internet. RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion and is based on your own effort, not assigned paces. Why? Because it can be dangerous and irresponsible to follow arbitrary paces on the internet. If you try to follow a pace that is beyond your fitness level you could injure yourself. If you follow a pace that is too easy, you won't get the maximum benefit of the workout. If you work according to your own fitness levels and progress only when you're ready, you will improve your running skills while reducing chance of injury. (Coach rant over.)
You can learn more about the RPE chart here
Your RPE can be determined by the talk test.
RPE:1 No effort. You are probably sitting.
RPE:2-3 Light effort. Breathing is extremely easy. You may be walking at this effort.
RPE: 4-6 Moderate effort. You are working a little harder, maybe a jog or an easy run, but you can carry on a full conversation at this pace without gasping for air between words or sentences.
RPE: 7-8 Hard effort. You can speak a sentence or two at a time before having to taking a gasp of breath.
RPE: 9 Extremely hard effort. You can get out a word or two but breathing is labored and talking is challenging.
RPE: 10 Maximum effort. You are completely out of breath and unable to talk. You would only be able to hold this pace for a very short time.
RED LIGHT | YELLOW LIGHT | GREEN LIGHT EFFORT
RED LIGHT | HARD EFFORT | RPE 7-9
YELLOW LIGHT | MODERATE EFFORT | RPE 4-6
GREEN LIGHT | EASY EFFORT | RPE 3
THE SUNDAY DRIVER
After a proper running warm up, like the one shown in this blog post, get ready for your workout with four minutes of a brisk walk or light jog. This should be an extremely easy effort.
REV UP YOUR ENGINE
Let's start getting our body ready for faster paces. Run for 30 seconds at a hard effort and then recover for 90 seconds at a moderate or easy effort until your breath is recovered. Repeat a total of four times
THE SPEED DEMON
Now we are getting into the fun. Start off with one minute of easy effort, followed by three minutes at a moderate steady pace. You should be working but not so hard that you can't maintain it for three minutes. Recover for two minutes at an easy pace before picking it back up at a hard pace for two minutes. The most important point here is that you find a pace that you can maintain for two minutes. If you go out too hard, you'll never make it two minutes. Your pace should be steady, yet hard for the two minute interval. You have one minute to recover before one last hard interval of one minute. This is your last one, give it all you got for the last minute.
Walk or jog for three minutes to bring your heart rate down to normal before finishing up workout. It is generally a good idea for most runners to finish up with some stretching.
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