Increasing intensity and decreasing overall running time on daily workouts.

by Darrin
(South Carolina)

I am trying to figure out the best way to get an equally intense run for my daily runs by spending less time on the treadmill.
My daily runs consist of treadmill running for 12 miles at a pace of 7.2 mph, which at that pace usually takes me 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Add on weight training and I am spending close to three hours in the gym. I do this workout 6 days a week and have been running this way for about 4 years. How could maybe interval running or some other form make my workouts less time consuming.

Given my treadmill speed of 7.2 mph, could you breakdown speed and duration times in a good workout that might equal what I am doing now?
I greatly appreciate any and all advice!!!

Answer by Dominique:

G'day Darrin,
Thanks for your running training question.
Three hours in the gym for six days a week which includes a daily 12 mile run is quite a feat.

The speed you run at seems a little slow for somebody who takes on that much mileage in a week. However, at the same time, generally increasing the intensity of all your runs is not necessarily the best idea.

Let me explain...
Easy, steady running, the speed at which you can maintain a conversation, should be the core of your running program. As I have explained to other site visitors, e.g. see here and here easy running is the single most important running speed.

You need to establish for yourself whether "the speed at which you can maintain a conversation" is your regular 7.2mph or a bit faster. I suspect it is a bit faster, which then again makes it harder to say anything about the speed you should use in faster workouts.

So, faster workouts....
There is definitely space to spice things up a little bit! One of the keys to improvement is avoiding doing the same workout constantly. Your body is pretty well conditioned to your current fitness regime. I have got a lot of respect for someone who does the same workout day in, day out. I personally need a lot more variation to keep me going. And I think you need that variation as well to build your fitness.

Over the next few weeks I suggest you start trying out a few different things:

1) Tempo running is a great way to improve your running. 2 x 20 minutes with a 5 minute recovery jog in between constitutes a hard workout.

2) Interval running is another way.

3) Apply the hard/easy principle. Do one day with a hard workout, e.g. a tempo run, interval running or a long run (longer than what you currently do) and the next day do an easy workout (e.g. an easy 5-8 miler). The shorter more intense workouts will save you time, the easy shorter runs will save you time, and surprisingly enough, I think you'll end up being a faster, better runner for it!

To understand how to build up your mileage, check out this page about increasing your mileage safely.

I hope this helps, Darrin.
Best of luck and once again, my respect for the tough workout you do each day.
Kind regards,

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