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  • Writer's pictureTim Bradley, Sr. Director of Training/Interim Executive Dir.

Try These Training Run Variations

Starting your runs from home can present more of a challenge when it comes to completing your run as planned. Or, you may find yourself stuck running the same route regularly. Try out one of the runs below to incorporate some variety into your training plan and use your route to your advantage! For all of the types of runs listed below, you should continue to follow the social distancing and running guidelines we have provided HERE.


Stretching is a great way to keep our muscles from getting tight and prevent us from losing the flexibility that can impact our running strides. For this variation, you can break up your run into two halves. Run the first portion, then do a 5-10 minute full body stretch, and then finish the rest of the run. Running before will help you be warmed up when you start to stretch - and even better when you are finished with your run, you won’t have to have that voice in your head saying, "I should stretch more.”

Freestyle Fartlek:

While many Fartlek (Swedish word for speedplay) workouts can be done with structured intensities and set intervals, it is also fun and useful to do what I call a "freestyle" fartlek. This means you simply pick out different landmarks along your route and mix in different types of "pick-ups" or surges along the way. You might start with something simple as the next tree or a particular point of interest in your neighborhood. Run on feel to your landmark and then pick out another one and repeat. For the rest interval, just go on feel and rest until you feel like you can surge again. These runs are best done in low foot traffic and vehicle traffic areas. You can run fast but stay in control.

Loop It:

Loop runs can seem boring, but they are great for working on your pacing skills and can be a good brain teaser to think about your pace over different distances. Pick a set distance loop to run. It can be a half-mile, mile, or a more odd distance like around your block might be 0.65 miles etc...

Run the first loop to measure the distance and establish your first loop time. Then either try to improve your time on each loop until your run is completed or try to run each loop within 5 seconds of each other. It is a great way to stay close to home on a safe route but give your mind some activity. Of course you can always take from our recent Miles Per Hour playbook and run a loop for an hour and see how far you can get!

Try these training runs out to give yourself some variety and add a new challenge to break up your easy runs during the week.

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