I don’t know about you, but sometimes the same old run can get a little stale. As a cross country coach, I am always looking for something different that is both challenging and fun at the same time. I asked Coach Dan for a favorite running workout and he told me about Kenyan Outbacks. After doing this today with my cross country runners, I realized that I could also include it as a part of my marathon training. I can’t wait to tell my running buddies about it…I know my friend, Susan will be up for it! Even if you run solo, this is a different way to get some fast stuff in without doing a full blown speed workout on a track (something I usually avoid like the plague). Coach Dan used this a lot when he was coaching his running club in Minnesota in preparation for their marathons.
Choose a running route where you can go at least 4 miles out and back. It should be fairly straight if you are doing it with a group of runners who have varied running speeds (like my xc team). After an adequate warm-up (a mile or so), choose a time to run out …say 8 min., 10 min., or 15 min. You will run that time out and then turn around. The return run should be faster by at least one minute, preferably two or more. For instance, today our cross country team went out for 9 minutes, at which time I blew the whistle for the turnaround (at that point – no matter where they were on the run – they turned around and headed back). While the fastest group of runners came back in sub-7 minutes, the return run varied depending on the runner, from 2.5 minutes faster to about 1 minute faster. And everyone came back faster! Always finish with a mile cool down and some good stretching (thats the coach in me talking…do as I say not as I do, if you know what I mean).
I love this run because even the slower runners are challenged and they are actually ahead of the faster ones on the way back (at first) because everyone turns at the same time. This gives them incentive to stay ahead as long as they can. Try it as a “tempo” type run if you are training for a fall race… it’s a great change of pace….hey that’s a pun (and it rhymes too)!!!!
Have you ever done a Kenyan Outback?