FLRC workouts for the week of June 29th

Nice work on last week’s workouts, and it’s great to see more people doing them and sharing their impressions. The weather will once again be gorgeous, so enjoy this week’s easier workouts, as we take a small recovery week before ramping up again next week.

Middle Distance Workouts (5K to 15K)

These workouts should feel familiar and pretty easy—stay controlled within the pace, even if you feel like you could run faster.

  • Workout 1: 5-7 reps of 3 minutes at I pace, with 2 minutes of jogging to recover between each one.

  • Workout 2: 2 miles, 1 mile, and 1/2 mile, all at T pace, with a 3-minute jogging rest after each repetition. When you’re done with the T-pace work and rested, do 6 by 30-second strides (30 seconds at R pace, followed by 30 seconds of jogging).

  • Long Run: 25-30% of your weekly mileage at E pace

Long Distance Workouts (Half Marathon to Marathon)

We’re keeping it simple this week with a 95-minute run with a bump in the middle and some strides to make you feel fast at the end.

  • Workout 1: 30 minutes at E pace, 30 minutes at M pace, 30 minutes at E pace. Finish it up with 6 by 30-second strides (30 seconds at R pace, followed by 30 seconds of jogging) before cooling down with at least 5 more minutes of E pace. No need for the extra 10-minute warmup.

  • Long Run: 25-30% of your weekly mileage at E pace


Got up early to run the workout today before temperatures began to climb and felt great! One question: could you explain the purpose of strides at the end of the workout - are they solely to make you feel fast? (If yes, it worked :)) I ran my strides barefoot and have been experimenting lately with some barefoot runs up to 3 miles - I find that my legs feel looser if I do a few easy miles without shoes on at the end of a run or on an easy day. Thoughts on barefoot running?

Sounds like you’re coming to one of the classic running cooldowns: post-workout strides barefoot on grass, often on the infield of a track.

I see strides as largely neuromuscular work. You’re trying to train your brain and body to move in a particular way (fast) without too much stress that would overwhelm the lesson. I know little about sprint training, where I imagine there’s quite a bit more of this kind of work aimed at translating power into speed, but in the distance world, strides are often used at the end of a workout so you have a chance to focus on maintaining good form at speed while your legs are already a little tired. It’s a balancing act—if you feel off and clumsy after a couple of the strides, you’re probably too tired to benefit and you should just jog it in. In an ideal workout, you’ll be just tired enough that that you’ll have to work consciously on the strides to stay smooth and fast, but you’l be fresh enough that you can succeed at it. Then, in a race, as you tire out, hopefully the neuromuscular training will help you maintain smooth form at a faster pace.

I also like doing strides as the run on the day before a 5K race. Ben de Haan, who was Cornell’s top distance guy a few years back and now runs professionally for the Netherlands, recommended that as a way to increase muscle tension as a way of priming the muscles for the next day’s race. He was basing his comments in part on this post.

Perhaps @esambo can chime in about strides with his experience with coaching the Ithaca College team.

As far as barefoot running goes, let’s move that topic to the General forum since it may be of broader interest.

We always did strides on pre-meet days when I was coaching and it’s a pretty common practice. I would echo Adam’s rationale. I would say, it’s not a good idea to do them the day before a race if they aren’t a regular part of your regimen. We typically did them 3-5 days a week. They are a form of speed development and just getting used to being comfortable at faster paces and yes, they do often make you feel better/faster especially after a run since you are stretching out muscles that have been contracting for awhile but are warmed up. Barefoot is a good idea if you don’t have a history of joint problems or obviously if you are unsure of the surface (I stepped on a glass beer bottle once while doing barefoot strides in a park; it was awesome). Like anything else though, you can overdo them. I recommend in moderation.


Rats. Missed the strides part of the workout - and for Gabrielle, I prefer doing them barefoot if I have the opportunity. For example, if I had payed attention to the full workout and not skipped out after the 2nd 30 minutes of easy, I would have ended up at Bryant Park and done the strides barefoot there. And rather than mess with putting shoes back on, run the last 5 minutes barefoot home. I have done barefoot running on and off over the years, and generally find that it helps me focus on stride and footfall - but I have to be careful about surfaces (avoid ones with rocks - particularly lots of small, pointy ones…) and conditions (too hot/cold). There are a couple of videos I wish I had handy about the pros/cons of barefoot running - and about mixing into a normal running routine, particularly if you favor shoes with significant drop. (I’ve always tended to the minimalist camp, even though I’m 185 lbs). Basically, you do have to be aware that running barefoot, or more importantly, without shoes, requires somewhat different stride mechanics (if I recall properly, particularly in the ankle)