The Feel Good Run

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

A runner steps up to the treadmill, places the water bottle in the cup holder, checks her laces, sets the iPod, and types her speed (always either 5.0, 6.0, or 7.0) into the console.

30-45 minutes later it's all over.

She got sweaty, but was kinda bored and didn't really feel good until the final few minutes when it was clear she would actually complete the workout.

Typical, right?

I've been a runner for over 20 years now and I've experienced the full gamut of run workouts. While much of the year is spent trying to round into form for a particular competition, this time of year is great because there's no pressure to perform killer workouts and there is freedom to experiment with different types of runs.

What I'm trying to say is, this is a great time to try something new. For starters, I recommend listening to your body closely.

Does it like to be thrust into 8 minute/mile pace right from the start?

Does it like the monotony of the same pace for the duration of every run?

Are you pleased with the results you've achieved from the workouts you run?

Introducing The Feel Good Run

I have a recipe for creating a workout that feels great, makes sense physiologically, and, if repeated, brings results.

You'll form an excellent base level of fitness to which harder workouts can be layered upon.

The probability of experiencing a runner's high is rather, ahem, high.

You'll find yourself looking forward to this type of run often. Which is good, because it really should be present in your training plan all year.

Executing The Feel Good Run

Plan on about 30-45 minutes for the run. Whatever length makes sense for you! (And you can easily adapt this structure to longer runs)

Start with the first 12-20 minutes nose breathing only. This will force you to run slowly. THAT'S the point. Scientific explanation comes later. Just trust me on this. Effort should feel like a 4-5 out of 10. In other words, this should feel incredibly easy. You might even have to walk on the uphills if you're outside!

The next 5-10 minutes should still be easy, but slightly faster. Perhaps a 5-6 out of 10. You can take the tape off of your mouth now and breathe normally ;-)

Now, bring your speed up a notch more for the next 5-10 minutes. Feels like a 7 out of 10. You're working, but it's very sustainable. I notice lots of beginners gravitate to this pace because it feels right. Well, actually it's too fast to do all of your mileage, but it sure does feel natural.

Finally, my favorite part: a one to two minute long gradual pick-up where you just run faster and faster. The key here is relaxation. Don't simply shift gears and sprint. Instead, progressively thumb through all of the gears you own and fly during the last 10 seconds.

If you've played your cards right, then this should be pure ecstasy. Enjoy!

Quick recap:

30 min version

12 min nose breath easy

10 min regular breath easy

5 min medium effort

1 min relaxed, medium-hard effort.

50 seconds relaxed, hard effort.

10 seconds relaxed sprint

1+ min slow jog cool-down



45 min version

15 min nose breath easy

20 min regular breath easy

5 min medium effort

2 min relaxed, medium-hard effort.

50 seconds relaxed, hard effort.

10 seconds relaxed sprint

2 min slow jog cool-down

PS: I could have talked about how you want to be "in the moment", concentrate on your form, etc.  But the structure of this workout is the foundation from which the necessary relaxation can occur.  Coaxing your body to fitness vs. bludgeoning your body to fitness, perhaps.  Your body will thank you.  Will you hear it?