Fischer Marathon Prep Workout: Threshold Running/Walking with Poles

Workout from Green Racing Project and Fischer athlete Kaitlynn Miller

This workout is part of our Marathon prep series presented by Fischer. We’ll be posting new workouts here every two weeks, along with other training and technique tips. The workouts come from the Green Racing Project skiers and biathletes, and many of them are workouts they perform all the time during the summer and fall in order to prep for their season.  If you want to see the workouts right as they come out, and are interested in all things Craftsbury Marathon, make sure to sign up for our Marathon eNews here!

GRP athletes Ben Lustgarten and Mike Gibson doing threshold intervals on West Hill Road in Craftsbury (Photo Caitlin Patterson)

The goal of this workout is to increase fitness and endurance. I recommend an interval set of about 3×10 minutes with 2-3 minutes of rest in between each interval. Feel free to do as few as two intervals or as many as five, depending on how you feel. You can run-with-poles on the flatter sections and walk on steeper sections.  For warm-up, do some easy running for at least 20-30 minutes before your first interval. It is important to remember that threshold pace (Level 3) is a pace you can easily sustain for at least an hour straight. It should feel hard, but very manageable (faster than your marathon pace, but slower than your 5k or 10k race pace). It might take a little while to figure out what your ideal pace is, but don’t overthink it. I would recommend doing some version of this workout once a week or at least every other week.

Variation 1: Find a long sustained incline. This could be a hiking trail or an alpine ski trail. If you are in the Stowe area, try the Mansfield Toll Road. These will be somewhat continuous intervals. Start at the bottom for your first interval and climb for 10 minutes. Then jog or walk downhill for 2-3 minutes of rest. Repeat this two to four more times. Jog back down to the bottom of the mountain for your cool down. On an incline like the Toll Road, you may want to do more walking-with-poles than running to stay in threshold. This interval scheme is good for developing sustained endurance.

Variation 2: Find a roughly 10 minute trail loop that ideally has some climbing in it. Each interval will be one loop and then jog or walk around for 2-3 minutes near the start/finish in between intervals. Assuming your loop has a mix of climbing, descent, and flat, you will want to mix up running and walking. This interval scheme is good for practicing transitions and mixing up leg speed. It is also the easiest version to transition to snow.

Variation 3: Find a roughly 10 minute stretch of road or trail that is largely uphill. If you are in the Craftsbury area, West Hill Road is a good option. This interval scheme is essentially a hill repeat. The downside is that your rest time will be considerably longer (basically as long as it takes you to get back to the bottom), but the upside is that you will get in some quality hill intervals.

Remember to cool down jogging for about 10-15 minutes after your intervals. Also remember get in a good protein snack and drink plenty of water soon after you finish to ensure you recover quickly and get the maximum benefit from your workout!

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