My Mock Track Workout on the Road

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Tuesday is usually my husband’s morning to go to the gym. Weather was perfect for a run outside, so I was determined to squeeze in an intense cardio burst outdoors as soon as he got home (and before I had to leave for work). I knew I had about thirty minutes, so I was going to have to run from my house. I wanted to do something that mocked that of a track/interval workout but didn’t require me to run too far from the house. Today I did a workout that resembled a killer conditioning workout that I did in college when training in the fall with the sprinters.


When I was a senior at Virginia Tech, Lawrence “Boogie” Johnson was hired to train our sprint team. Great guy, yet super intense. To this day, I attribute my ability to push through pain during workouts and races on training with this man. He never told us how many intervals we had left because he wanted us to give 100% on each one. Just when you thought he may have reached the point of crazy (as far as how hard he would push you), he would ask you to do one more (and maybe even another). Nothing was ever too hard. His signature endurance workout was what he called “X’s”. Starting on the corner of a football field (or inside of a track), sprint the diagonal of the field to the opposite corner. From there, jog the end zone line (short side of field). Once you reach that corner, sprint the diagonal again. Doesn’t sound hard, but one rep is running both diagonals and both short sides. Now try doing that 18-20 times.

I didn’t go to that extreme in my workout this morning, but I did something very similar to this workout on my block. My block was essentially the track. One lap around my block is around seven tenths of a mile. Instead of sprinting diagonals, I sprinted the long side of the block and jogged the short side (each short side was about a tenth of a mile).   Therefore, each sprint ended up being about 400 meters. After a quick warm up, I did 4 laps. If you do the math here, that means I sprinted 8 400’s with a short active recovery after each. Including the recovery and warm up/cool down, I came in right under 25 minutes for about 3.2 miles. This is such an effective workout in a short period of time. My neighbors probably thought I was crazy.

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If you don’t have an even rectangular block near you, you can always go by time. Essentially this workout could be done in the following manner on any route:

  • Sprint or run a 5k pace for 2:00
  • Slow jog/active recovery for 45 seconds (that’s it!)
  • Repeat 8 times.

Make sure that you do a little warm up and cool down. Most importantly, set your mind to the number of intervals that you want to complete and commit to it. In a workout that is this high in intensity, it is easy to stop short. When I start thinking about stopping short, I try to ask myself if I was running with someone would I stop? Most likely the answer would be no. It’s all a mental game.

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