Dec | 11
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Inspiration, Running Tips

The North Pole Run Club Workout #4: Mario Fraioli

This blog and workout were written by our friend Mario Fraioli, author of The Morning Shakeout.


Let’s face it: December and January are tough months to train. Between the winter weather, holiday travel, office parties and catching up with family and friends, time is tight and getting in your miles can be a challenge.

The solution: Maximize the time you do have with creative workouts that will help you stay fit and challenge you to work on your weaknesses (and make you feel less guilty about that third piece of pie you had after dinner!).

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One of my favorite holiday workout solutions is a fun little session called, “The Variety Pack Workout.” Reducing your mileage a bit isn’t necessarily a bad thing during this time of year, and this non-stop circuit combines elements you need to stay fit–speed, strength and endurance–into a 30-minute window.

What you’ll need:

  • Some room to run! A track, clear stretch of pavement or trail, or a treadmill if you’re stuck indoors will do the trick
  • A chair or bench
  • A basic stopwatch or timer (the one on your phone is perfect!)
  • Lightweight running shoes (The Brooks Hyperion are my go-to for this workout!)
  • Comfortable workout clothes (I typically throw on the Heritage tee and Rush Shorts)

The workout:

  • Warm up with an easy 10-minute jog
  • Transition straight into 30 seconds of butt kicks, rapidly kicking your heel up towards your rear end with each stride and lifting your knees ever so slightly.
  • Follow the butt kicks with 30 seconds of high knees; Quickly firing your legs up and down like pistons, lifting your knee to about waist level while landing lightly on the balls of your feet.
  • Take 60 seconds for recovery after the run to catch your breath.
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  • Run 2 minutes at your 5K race effort (about an 8 on a 1-10 scale). (Note: Running 1 minute out, 1 minute back from your starting spot is a good way to do it.)
  • Take another 60 seconds to recover.
  • Complete as many standard pushups as you can in 60 seconds.
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  • Follow the pushups with a front plank. Hold this position for 60 seconds. Focus on relaxing your breathing during the hold.
  • Take 60 seconds to catch your breath.
  • After recovery, run 2 minutes at your 5K race effort (about an 8 on a 1-10 scale).
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  • Take 60 seconds to recover.
  • Using the chair or bench, complete as many reverse dips as you can in 30 seconds. To perform the reverse dip, stand with your back to the chair or bench, place your hands on the seat behind you (just beyond shoulder-width apart). Straighten your body with your feet two to three feet out in front of you in a reverse plank position. Lower your upper body until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle and then push yourself back up into a reverse plank.
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  • Following the reverse dips, stand up and immediately do as many air squats as you can in 30 seconds. Focus on maintaining good form—not speed! What does good squatting form look like? Standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, put your hands straight out in front of you and lower your body into a sitting position. Keep your back straight and push your weight into your heels as you reach a sitting position. Hold for two seconds before returning to a standing position and repeat.
  • Take 60 seconds to recover and catch your breath.
  • After recovery, run 2 minutes at your 5K race effort (about an 8 on a 1-10 scale).
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  • Cool down with 5 minutes of running at an easy pace.

Whipped? You should be! The “Variety Pack Workout” throws a little bit of everything your way. It’s a great use of your time when you don’t have a lot of it, and will ensure that you’re having fun and staying fit throughout the holiday season.

About the Author

Mario Fraioli is the head coach at Ekiden and writes The Morning Shakeout email newsletter.

About Guest Blogger
The Brooks Blog regularly features stories from our athletes, running partners and friends who exemplify Run Happy.
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