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Running Workouts to Get You In Shape Fast By John Mora

July 15, 2013

A little too much R&R this offseason?  Here are a few ideas to help get your running legs back in no time.

Okay, you did it again, didn’t you?  You didn’t have the motivation to brave as many winter runs as you thought you might.  And that treadmill in the basement has a nice coat of dust on it.  Now it’s just about the threshold of spring, another running season upon you, and you’re out of shape… again. 

I know… I’ve been there (way too often).  But, if you’re determined to get back into shape and running strong for when the mercury begins to climb higher, there’s a few very specific types of workouts you can do to ramp up your progress safely. 

That last word is important—the tendency is to take a McDonald’s approach to fitness… everybody just wants it fast.   But doing too much or doing it too hard too quickly will only stall your progress even further.  After all, it’s hard to get back into shape when you hobbling around with a sore knee.  With that in mind, here are some suggested “quick-start to running fitness” workouts.

Walking/Running Workouts

Us runners sometimes take this running thing too far.  We seem to have this ingrained perception that walking is for wimps, and that stopping to walk during a running workout is equivalent to forgetting to call Mom on Mother’s Day.

There’s no limit to the combinations you can come up with.  Here are a few workouts I’ve done, progressing from those with equal parts running and walking, to sessions that incorporated less walking.

The Five Minute Workout

  • Five minutes of running balanced with five minutes of walking
  • Beginners, start with a total run/walk time of 20-30 minutes
  • More advanced runners can run/walk for 40-2 hours, depending on previous conditioning and current fitness

The 10/5 Workout

  • After every ten minutes of running, walk for five minutes
  • A good stepping stone after a few five-minute workouts

The 15/5 Workout

  • After every fifteen minutes of running, walk for five minutes
  • A good next step after a few 10/5 workouts

Keep Walking

These are just a few I’ve tried with some success.  If you prefer a less structured workout, you can simply take a walking break when you feel your body needs it.  Either way, eventually the goal is to minimize the walking once you’ve reached your fitness goal.  However, don’t hesitate to do a run/walk workout on easy days or when you’re tapering for an event.  Chances are you’ll find your legs a lot fresher on race day.


John M. Mora is a freelance writer and advertising copywriter living in Plainfield, Illinois.  He is co-author of Paula Newby-Fraser’s Peak Fitness for Women, available in bookstores everywhere. 


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