It’s no secret that I’m a lover of easy runs. There’s no time pressure. I can walk a bit if I want. I can take a photo. I can pop into Facebook and have a chat for a bit if I want. It’s a pressure free run. Even more than easy runs, I love long runs. That’s what I live for. Although the long training runs for a marathon certainly take it out of me, I look forward to it all week. And when I’m done, I often feel like I could go for a bit longer, because I just love long distance.

There are other runs that I do because they benefit my long running but I’m not necessarily keen. I accept that they are a necessary evil.

Like Intervals. And Tempo.

It’s also probably the case that I like those two types of runs even less because where I live is quite hilly and there is nothing overly enjoyable about running intervals uphill.

But what I have found is that if you get a bit creative you can find a running workout with the same benefit that you dont’ hate with the fire of a thousand suns.


Plenty of people love their tempo runs, but for me I find them a bit of a struggle because there’s no real relief point. It’s just maintaining the same reasonably hard pace for whatever the distance is and mentally I find them to be a bit of a struggle. But I have found a couple of things that help me with this:

Fartlek – Fartlek can give you the same benefits of Tempo without actually doing Tempo. Now traditionally Fartlek is an unstructured mix of speed, steady and easy running but some of us are just too structured for that kind of thing. So here are the main two Fartlek-inspired runs that I do.

5:2 – 6 repats of 5:00 hard running by 2:00 steady running
Pyramid – 3:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, 6:00, 4:00, 3:00 hard running with 1:00 of recovery running in between.


Also not my favourite. Particularly long intervals. Long intervals are hard to pace for, especially once you throw hills into the mix. My solution to this has been a couple of things

Run to heart rate – instead of picking a pace and saying this is the pace I have to do, I do it to heart rate zone so that the effort is consistent, even if I can’t manage a consistent pace up and down hills.

Shorter intervals – Sure I could kill myself on long intervals, but long intervals aren’t going to help me if I don’t do them. So I mix it up with plenty of shorter intervals. At the moment my favourite is the 400m progression run. Which is 5 x 400m sprint, 400m, steady, 400m fast, 400m recovery. Now that is fun!

The moral of the story? There’s usually a way to make what you do not like to do, fun! What is your favourite run? Which one do you dread?

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Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. I don't know WTF all those things mean. I guess I'm about to find out in September and I have to say, I'm a bit scared. :)

    • Zoey Dowling

      Not to worry Treacy! This is not the kind of thing you will be doing in the Learn to Run program. Although good point! I should have explained what exactly I was talking about!

      • lol, I'm doing to learn do the learn to run faster and further one. I'm really looking forward to it.

  2. Yeap I agree, I'm way more likely to do intervals if I do shorter intervals, I'll go harder knowing it's not too long and it motivates me to really get stuck into it. Otherwise, if my intervals are too long it ends up turning into an easy run. lol.

  3. I hate the longer intervals - gets in my head a bit too much. But I am doing them and it has definitely made a difference to my sped and distance I ca run (and I'm not running far yet!)

  4. I find it hard to keep track of my intervals, e.g. if I'm meant to do 200m, 400m, 400m, 200m, with particular rest periods in between and at a particular pace, then do it all again 3 times, I sometimes forget where I am up to! Does you Garmin help with that Zoey? I only have the stock standard Garmin and I don't think that helps with intervals? And yes longer intervals are hard!!! And yes I need to get myself a HRM.

    • Zoey Dowling

      The garmin is great for that. You can create any type if interval run you like on it and send it to your watch.