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It’s summer, it’s hot, and running has become more challenging. We know, we know…

But that doesn’t mean you have to give back every ounce of your hard-earned fitness. This workout is designed for those who want to stay in shape despite scorching temperatures and for those who have signed up for a fall or winter marathon and are ironing out their training plans.

Read on if you’re ready to chop wood, carry water, and consistently show up.

5 x 400 m, 5 x 200 m, 5 x 100 m repeats (with equal distance rest)

This workout has two advantages:

  1. It’s difficult (and likely unhealthy) to do longer intensity sessions when it’s hot. So sprint repeats that you can bang out in about half an hour are the perfect summer-time workout. We’re not professionals. One of the reasons we run is to stay active and healthy, so let’s keep workouts reasonable and sensible.
  2. Speed sessions are perfect for kicking off a marathon build-up. When your musculoskeletal structure can handle faster speeds, all the various paces – interval, threshold, half-marathon, marathon – you have to run later in the training block will feel easier and smoother.


Workout details

When should you do this workout?

  • The first 1-3 three weeks of a training block. 
  • Or as a weekly or bi-weekly workout to touch faster paces if you’re not training for any race in particular. Speed kills! So it’s always beneficial to regularly inject speed into your workouts. 


What is the correct effort?

Although the workout is a repetition session, feel free to just stride. If this is the first session after a break, aim for 70-80% of your full-sprint pace. Since temperatures are much higher than during the winter, you should reduce your pace to prevent injuries anyways.


Workout tips:

  • This workout is a musculoskeletal stimulant. Feel free to take your time with the rest periods. Recover completely to allow yourself to hold form and pace during the actual repeats.
  • Have a water bottle (consider adding electrolytes or carbohydrates) on hand to stay hydrated.


How to find your workout pace?

We use Jack Daniel’s VDOT Calculator. When typing in your reference result, use a time based on your current fitness level, not a time from your peak.

For example, if you’re using a half-marathon time to estimate your various training paces, input a estimated time you can run right now, not your personal best from six months ago.

Accurate pacing isn’t critical at this point in your training. A pace that allows you to maintain good form and stride smoothly is more than fast enough. 

How to do this workout?

Step 1

Jog 15-20 minutes. Always warm up, especially for speed sessions.

Step 2 

Dynamic stretching and form drills. A simple Internet search will give you a wide array of instruction videos and articles. There are too many to choose from, so don’t complicate things by attempting to do 20-30 different exercises. Us mere mortals don’t have that kind of time. 

A 5-10-minute routine that activates the muscles and loosens things up is all we’re aiming for. 

Step 3

Begin workout.

  • 5 x 400 m + 400 m jog rest between reps.
  • 5 x 200 m + 200 m jog rest between reps.
  • 5 x 100 m + 100 m jog rest between reps.
  • (Take your time to recover fully.)

For an experienced runner that is better at gauging your body and fitness level, you can speed up as you move down in distance. However, keeping an even pace is preferable since this workout is likely your first or second session of the training block. No need to be over-aggressive.

Step 4 

Jog 15-20 minutes as cool down.

Step 5

Replenish lost nutrients for recovery within 30-40 minutes post-workout. For example, a protein bar, electrolyte drink, or a proper nutrient-rich meal


Last words of advice

  • We want to reiterate that there are no specific paces you have to hit. Stride smoothly and work on running with good form.
  • It’s hot out there, so you might be low on motivation. See if you can get a group together to run these summer workouts and keep each other accountable.
  • If you’re less experienced or returning from a long break, feel free to modify the number of reps. Or skip the 400s and do 6-8 x 200s as the full workout. Training and running your best is a long game. Push yourself but don’t overdo it. 
  • Always listen to your body, especially at the beginning of a training block, so that you can work consistently week after week toward your goal race.
  • And most importantly, have fun while testing your mental and physical limits.