After a runner has completed three weeks of “base work”, they are ready to incorporate into their workout routine some strength and stamina building workouts. Base work can be described as consistent medium to long runs of four to eight miles. The strength and stamina inducing workouts can be divided into three categories.
One of the best types of workouts to build up a runner’s endurance and stamina is hill workouts. One such workout is the “figure eight hill” workout. This workout is done on a somewhat decent sized hill. A runner begins by running up at fast pace circling back down at a slower pace and then running back up to the top at a fast pace and running back down at the slower pace thereby completing a figure eight loop. The workout should be last up to forty minutes long.
Another variation of the hill workout would be to find a longer hill and run up one side at an even pace, run comfortably along the hilltop, and then run at a slower pace down the hill. Circle around and start anew. This workout should also last approximately forty minutes in duration.
Yet another world-class runner workout is the gradual uphill run. With this workout a hill with a gradual slope is best. The runner starts running up the hill exploding into a sprint near the top and jogging once at the top. While at the top the runner stops to do ten sit-ups. Upon completion of the sit-ups, the runner then jogs down the hill. This workout is run best at twenty-five minutes.
Similar to hill workouts, stair workouts build strength and endurance. Many high schools do not have the luxury of an indoor field house. Consequently, this is an excellent workout, particularly in colder climates, to get a great workout in. In a long building a runner can run up one set of stairs touching each step with one foot. The runner then runs the length of the hallway and down the next stairwell. Another variation of this workout is running up the stairs of a multistory building and then running back down.
Stadium stairs in the bleachers also make a good workout area for runners. These can be run up in one aisle and then back down the next. On and on the runner strides until each aisle is traversed.
At the Track
During the nice spring, summer, and fall months there is no better place for a serious runner to workout than at a local track. One workout that should be considered is a barrier run on a 400-meter track. Near the finish line, set up at least ten short one-foot high barriers approximately two feet apart. A runner could go through a normal 200-meter or 400-meter run and then upon encountering the barriers work through them with high knee lifts until hitting the finish line. This type of workout builds strength for the end of a race. It helps condition the body to lift the legs while pumping the arms for sprinting to the finish line.
A most difficult workout that builds strength, stamina, and endurance are the twenty times 400-meter workout. A runner would set out to run each 400-meter at a pace that mimics what race conditions would be. For example if a runner desires to run at five minute pace in his/her next 5k race, they would set a goal to run each 400 meter at that pace of 75 seconds. The difficulty of this workout is that a runner gets only 90 seconds rest between each 400 meter. During that 90 seconds add in five pushups. This top workout is not for the novice runner. It will build a great deal of stamina for improving a runners overall performance.
Building a solid base is important in running. The “palindrome” workout adds to a runners existing base. This workout adds up to a total of five miles not including warm-up and cool down. A runner will first do a one-mile run around the track. The second stage is two 800-meter runs. The runner then runs four 400-meter runs at race pace. Then another two 800 meter runs. Finishing with a one mile run around the track. With the exception of the 400-meter runs, the balance should be done at a fairly fast tempo. The goal here is to increase endurance.
As with any type of workout regime a runner should always warm up by running at least a mile and then stretch. A cool down run of a least a mile and then stretching afterward is also important. Adding these workouts to a runners workout schedule will help build endurance, stamina and strength. All should be used during the conditioning part of a runners workout schedule well in advance of the prime races of the season.