Are Your Workouts Diversified Enough?

Why switching up your workout paces will pay dividends

Just like your retirement account(s) should have various types of funds in them, your running paces should be equally as diverse, with some fast running, some slow running, and lots of paces in between.

One way to make sure you have a well-balanced running plan is to try running at different paces over a period of time. Some say that timeframe is a week, but I personally think it’s more like 10 days. What this means is that over the course of 10 days, you should be hitting paces that range from pure sprinting to casual running.

I know - that’s a really big window of paces. But you have 10 days to tap into each of those different systems.

How I’d go about it probably looks something like this:

So not only am I able to hit all of my systems over the course of 10 days, but I also vary what the workout is. I rarely, if ever run the same workout twice in a calendar year. Something changes, whether it’s the number of reps I do, the length of the reps (1 minute, 2 minutes; 400 meters, 800 meters), the amount of rest I take… Something is different.

Why should you hit every pace every 10 days? It’s important to stress each of your aerobic systems with different stimuli. If you’re always doing the same run distance at the same pace, you’ll be in shape, yes, but you’ll start seeing diminishing returns. You won’t get any better! To consistently get better at running, we have to keep targeting and tapping into different systems at different paces.

hard day —> easy day —> easy day —> hard day —> easy day —> easy day

Rinse and repeat.

Have questions? I’m here for you.

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Friday’s Action Plan:

Aim to hit some amount of running work at each of the 6 different running speeds in a 7-14 day window.

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Run the Ave 5k in Vineland, NJ

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Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.