"Doubling up is great for targeting different systems in one workout—speed, strength, mental toughness, and more—which makes you fitter and better prepared for race day," says Susan Paul, program director for Track Shack's Fitness Club in Orland.
LONG RUN + GOAL PACE:
Depending on the distance you are aiming for, run the first 2/3 at your long run pace...usually about a minute slower than race pace. Then for the final 1/3, pick up the tempo and finish at race pace. If you're running more than 16 miles, use the same formula, but only run the last three to four miles at marathon pace.Then follow with a cool down.
MILES + SPRINTS:
This one is my favorite, because it is really similar to what could happen in a race. It trains your body to slow down to race pace after a spurt of speed, as if you were passing someone in a race. Because we always are, right?! For this workout, run 1 mile at or above race pace, followed by a 400 meter in a much faster pace. Repeat this for a few miles, then follow up with a cool down.
A combo like this helps the legs push through that heavy feeling that you sometimes get in the middle/end of races. Start with an easy 2 or 3 miles. Next do a set of squats, lunges, and calf raises and repeat 3 times. Then finish with another 2 or 3 miles. Your legs should feel this one!
Most important about these two is to teach your body what it feels like to put forth consistent effort. Hills are obviously more difficult, but when follower by a flat you want to recover while picking up the pace and preparing for the next hill. A treadmill helps to control speed, and you need to pay attention to effort. When running up a 2-5% grade for 2 minutes you should feel the same effort as when you are at 0%. So you will need to up the speed.
P.S. A lot of these could be done walking or on the eliptical! No need to be a runner to get a great workout. Also, these can be pretty strenuous on the body. So be sure to follow up with fuel and a cross training day if you were pounding the pavement for a while.