Dec | 5
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Running Tips

Key Workout: Interval Pyramid

Pyramid workouts are tough but more mentally engaging than just doing the same interval distance over and over again. Named for the ascent (and corresponding descent) in distance, this workout offers a good mix of short and long intervals, which you can do a few ways.

Here’s the base workout, and then the variations: 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m

ALL AT RACE PACE

No matter what distance you’re training for, if you’re working on finding your race pace and sticking to it, this workout gives you a lot of chances to practice nailing that pace, and testing your ability to stick to it even when you have more energy (that first 200m) or you’re running out of gas (that last 400 will hurt). This is a great option for runners who tend to start too fast to practice being consistent.

FINISHING FASTER

In this variation, you can use the first half of the pyramid to practice your race pace, then increase your speed as the interval distance decreases, which mimics pushing hard at the end of a race when your legs are feeling fatigued.

All faster than race pace: Feeling like you’ve nailed your last few track workouts? Try doing this workout as a nearly all-out effort. Try doing the 200m – 800m intervals at sub-mile pace, and hit your 1000m interval right at your PR mile pace (if you don’t have a mile time from the last 6 months, we recommend doing a mile time-trial to find your current speed). On the “downhill” intervals, just try to hang on to that sub-mile pace. Done right, it will be pretty tough to do so.

For all workouts, we prescribe active recovery for the same time as you spent running the interval. If you’re up for a challenge, try cutting your recovery time to half the interval time.

There’s no doubt this is a tough workout, but it’s one of our favorites. There’s just something about finishing that longest interval and knowing that the lung-busting, leg-burning work is on its way down. Finishing that last 200m interval strong, with quick turnover and arms pumping is a huge confidence booster and a great way to gain strength that translates to the rest of your running.

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