Try These Confidence-Building Running Workouts

Everyone needs an occasional confidence boost. A workout that makes you feel accomplished and capable can do wonders for your overall running game, whether you’re a new runner still figuring your way through weird lingo and obsessive running memes or a seasoned athlete who feels a bit below par this season.

After one of these confidence boosters, you’ll be inspired to walk out the door on those tough days, and when you finish a running session sprawled in the grass gasping for air and questioning your choices (hey, we’ve been there), you can think about the skills you know you have in your racing toolbox.

These two workouts (perfect for new runners) will help you get to grips with your body and pace without focusing on data, and will leave you feeling stronger.

Fartlek Tour

Fartlek, a Swedish term meaning speed play and involves continuous running while increasing and decreasing speed and intensity. If you’re a beginner runner, start with one rep of the circuit below, building up to three or more rounds as you get more comfortable (or more experienced). Runners generally like their numbers: it can be difficult to run without specific rhythms to aim for. Believe that the lack of distinct rhythms in this session is a good thing; it encourages you to explore how your body feels. and your workout will be a success no matter how fast you do it.

Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running

3 minutes at medium pace, 3 minutes at easy recovery

2 minutes faster, 2 minutes easy recovery

1 minute faster, 1 minute easy recovery

Repeat 1-3 times, depending on experience and ability

Cool off with 10 minutes of easy running

Downhill speed work

It’s easy to get discouraged if you focus on increasing your speed and don’t see results. While most runners know hills can be a great builder, we tend to overlook downhill workouts. Practicing your run downhill, with control, is a great way to get used to running at a faster pace with a quick roll, and strengthens the muscles you aren’t targeting during your road or uphill sessions.

Ultra-runner Doug Mayer. Photo: Sam Hill

Find a route that has at least a one-mile downhill section, or set a treadmill to a 2% incline (bonus points if you hit the trails!). You can easily modify this session to make it harder (longer) or you can keep it short and sweet. While you want to run fast, keep control to avoid injury.

Easily run 25-45 minutes, with the downhill section somewhere in the middle

Do a 1-2 km faster mid-session run on the downhill portion

Remember, this will work different muscles than you’re used to, so don’t worry about speed for the rest of your workout. Stay hydrated and make the day after your workout an easy day or a recovery day.

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