The Workout of the Week (or as we like to call it, the WoW) is an ongoing feature from pro athlete Lauren Fleshman. If you missed the last few workouts or want to check in on upcoming ones, bookmark The Weekly Workout page.
This is a workout you have to do with a friend (or friends if you’re lucky enough to have more than one). The more the better on this bad boy, because more people means less predictability, and responding to the unknown is what this workout is all about. This workout can bring people closer together, or require some group therapy after, hence the name.
This workout can be done at a park, on a grass loop, bike path, dirt road, or anywhere open and safe.
What it is:
15 minute warmup
2 x 4’, 2 x 3’, 2 x 2’, 2 x 1’ intervals with 2 min jog recovery throughout (with a catch)
10 minute cooldown.
The 4 minute reps are around 10k pace effort, and as the intervals get shorter in time, they get a bit quicker in pace. Because it is a fartlek, the recoveries are done at an easy run pace, not a shuffle jog or walk. This makes for a 34 minute continuous workout within a total run of 1 hour.
Each person in the group takes turns leading a rep, but they don’t tell anyone how long or fast they are planning to run. The leader keeps it a secret and is in charge of setting the pace, leading the route, and saying when to stop. The leader can pick anything he/she wants so long as by the end of the workout, exactly two intervals of each length are completed. You can’t pass the leader.
I gave this workout to Little Wing in the fall, and it ended up being a group favorite. We have a group of five women with different strengths, some are speedier and others have more endurance. Some were overall in better shape than others. But because we took turns leading, each person picked intervals that suited them best, and everyone had their moment to shine (or torture the others).
During the 2 minute recoveries, we always looped around to collect everyone who had fallen behind, regrouping to start every hard interval all together. It’s fun to try to guess what the leader will pick, and it’s fun to pick something that nobody will expect!
Collier Lawrence and sister Mel (endurance divas) did the nearly unforgiveable and hit the group with back to back 4 minuters, but then 800 meter runner Kate Grace later got her revenge…
On the whole, the consensus was we worked harder overall and had way more fun doing the #Kumbaya than other interval workouts.
For those short on time, you can do the same workout but ditch the 4’ reps. For those hungry for distance, add two 5’ reps in.
You can do the #Kumbaya alone, by mixing up the interval lengths at random as you go. The key is, at least once make sure to pick the distance you want to do least of all…the biggest gains are made when you’re uncomfortable.
Photos from Amos Morgan