Strength and Running Intervals to Improve Speed + Free PDF Download

Welcome to the latest edition of "workout Wednesday" when each week I share a new running or strength training for runners workout! This week we have the best of both worlds by combining a running interval workout with strength training circuits. This is the perfect workout to do outdoors on a run near a park bench. This could also be done in the gym with a treadmill and a bench. This is a quick and efficient way to merge your running and strength training workout into one. 

 strength and running intervals to improve speed. save to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

strength and running intervals to improve speed. save to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

CIRCUIT ONE: UPPER BODY CORE

Perform each of these exercises for 30 seconds with little to no rest between moves. Once you complete all three exercises, repeat two more times for a total of three sets. 

INCLINE PUSH UP

Start in a straight arm high plank position with your hands on the bench. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes, do not allow your hips to raise in the air or sag down. While engaging your core muscles, bend your elbows to lower your chest to the bench. If this is too challenging, start on the higher back part of the bench. 

TRICEP DIP

Position your hands shoulder-width apart behind you on the bench. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows to lower your body toward the ground until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle while keeping your back close to the bench. From the low position, straighten your elbows to return to the starting position. Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. If this is too challenging you can bend your legs to modify the exercise.

ELEVATED PLANK

With your elbows resting on the bench, position your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes. Do not allow your butt to raise in the air or sink down. Straighten your right arm, then your left to push yourself up into a straight arm plank position. One arm at a time, lower back down to elbow plank. Perform the next repetition by straightening your left arm, then your right arm. Repeat.

CIRCUIT TWO: RUN INTERVALS

All that you need for this running portion of the workout is a timer. We will be alternating between easy-effort (can speak full sentences) and hard efforts (can only speak a word or two between heavy breathing).

Start with 90 seconds of an easy effort jog, then pick up the intensity and run at a hard effort for 30 seconds. Return to a jog or walk to lower the intensity back to an easy effort for 90 seconds. Repeat until repeated the cycles a total of four times. Walk or jog until your breath is fully recovered before moving to the next circuit.

CIRCUIT THREE: LOWER BODY

Perform each of these exercises for 30 seconds with little to no rest between moves. Once you complete all three exercises, repeat two more times for a total of three sets. 

BENCH SQUAT

I also call this one "hot bench." Starting with your feet hip-width apart push your hips back like you were going to take a seat on the edge and lower your body until your butt grazes the bench. As soon as you touch the bench jump up as if the bench was hot. Land in a soft position with your knees slightly bent. Take the time between each rep to reposition your body for correct form (don't rush the movement). 

SPLIT SQUATS

Start by facing away from the bench. Prop your right leg up on the bench behind you. Position your body so that when your left leg lowers into a lunge position that your knee is over your ankle and your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Straighten your leg to return to standing and repeat for 30 seconds before switching sides. 

SIDESTEP UP

Stand sideways to the bench. Starting with your right leg and take a wide step up on the bench, ensuring there will be enough room on the bench for both feet. Driving your right heel into the bench lift your left leg off the ground and onto the bench. Step back down one leg at a time. Perform for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

I'd recommend taking a rest day following this workout. Remember that our bodies adapt (get stronger and faster) during the rest period after the workout, not during the workout itself. If we don't allow proper recovery we will not see the full benefits of our hard work, plus we risk overtraining, burnout and injury. Most athletes will thrive on just one or two high-intensity workouts per week.

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 download a printable strength and running workout ebook. no email address required. Save to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

download a printable strength and running workout ebook. no email address required. Save to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

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