Alternative Running Workouts to Improve Speed, Agility and Conditioning

Burning calories, toning muscles, improving endurance, getting your lungs into a better shape. All those benefits you can gain thanks to running.

While sprinting you spend quality time outdoors and it can be a great way to improve your mental toughness. Another advantage of these alternative running workouts is that you can achieve a pretty harsh and effective WOD in just a few minutes. Perfect if you don’t have that much time to train.

For those who avoid running because it seems like a boring cardio exercise: nope! As well as enhancing your conditioning, these running workouts will strengthen and building various muscles all over your body. There is no chance of getting bored either since you can try these various different types of sprinting and keep your training constantly varied.

Yes, you will get pretty sore legs but no pain, no gain, right?

Hill Sprints and Stair Sprints

Sprinting up hills and stairs has many benefits. With each step up the hill you shorten the length of the stride, but it requires more effort as you have to propel your body upwards. This has the added advantage of causing less shock to your body though. An increased resistance goes hand in hand with increasing specific running strength.

Hill and stair sprinting also boosts your speed and improves the communication between your muscles and brain. Moreover, running uphill will help to improve your aerobic conditioning and help to decrease your resting heart rate and make it more efficient. Engaging your arms and shoulders is crucial for maximal acceleration.

With both hill and stair sprints it is important to change direction from running up to running down and the reverse again because this provides different level of intensity. Also experiment with longer distances and shorter rest times between each sprint to make your sprinting more challenging.

Sprints on Sand

For those who have access to a beach, sprinting on the sand is a great way to make your running training even more fun. 

The slippery surface and soft texture forces your leg muscles to work harder to stabilise the feet and body. The sand does not allow you to run at your maximum speed. Running on sand also saves your joints from pounding against hard roads and prevents injury.

The sand engages your ankles, arches and calves and causes them to adapt and grow stronger.

Agility Sprinting

Agility sprinting has all the aforementioned benefits, plus it is also a great way to improve your balance and adaptability. By changing the directions in which you run, stopping suddenly and alternating between full speed and dead stops, you force your body to generate speed and explosive power. Agility sprinting can also also help to prevents injuries that can be caused by a quick movements that your body may not be otherwise used to.

Agility sprinting is a great way to become more focused in general. Some footwork drills can bring a new spark into your usual training session and keep things varied.

For all the sprinting workouts it is very important to include a proper warm-up and if you are not an advanced runner, rather slowly.

Running Workout:

  • 800m easy, 400m fast, 800m easy 10sec rest 600m easy, 400m fast, 600m easy
  • 10 sec rest
  • 400m easy, 400m fast, 400m easy
  • 10 sec rest
  • 200m easy, 400m fast, 200m easy
  • 3 min rest
  • 400m easy, 200m fast, 400m easy 10sec rest 300m easy, 200m fast, 300m easy
  • 10 sec rest
  • 200m easy, 200m fast, 200m easy
  • 10 sec rest
  • 100m easy, 200m fast, 100m easy

Run Workout “WANDERER”:

  • 3x (600m, 60sec rest, 200m, 20sec rest, 500m, 50sec rest, 300m, 30sec rest, 400m)
  • w/ 5 min rest between sets.

Workout Total: 6000m

Workout Pacing: Pick a pace that is 2-3sec/100m slower than your 1-mile PR pace.

As example, an athlete with a 1 mile PR time of 8min (or 30sec/100m) would have a target pace of 32-33sec/100m.

Workout Focus: Be patient.

Leg Session from Brent Fikowski to Build Strength and Conditioning

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About The Author

I was born in Bratislava, Slovakia. Here I also got my journalism degree. Writing is my biggest passion as well as dancing, specifically dancehall. I keep myself fit in the gym on daily basis. I´ve moved to Berlin, Germany to become a trainee at BOXROX magazine. I got a great opportunity to develop my writing skills and get to know more about crossfit and everything what comes with it.

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