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Looking to Mix Up Your Workout? Balega Impi Team Workout Ideas for Spring Training - Part 1

With spring training upon us we wanted to ask the experts, our Impi team ambassadors for suggestions for their unique workout ideas. We hope these suggestions provided by the team might motivate or spark some new and creative ways to get active during your training this spring. This is part one of a two part spring training series.

Dani Kruger from Seattle, Washington’s favorite workout is a Hill Pyramid.

As a proud New Englander at heart, Dani loves the outdoors and anything maple-flavored. After a decade in the Midwest, she moved to Seattle where she loves the mild temperatures and mountain views. Dani's competitive nature is no secret, whether she's trying to do yoga at all of the state capitol buildings (23 so far!) or seeing how much vertical she can run each month in the mountains of the PNW. She's constantly scheming Ultra-distance adventures in the mountains of Washington fueled by Scandanavian swimmers and Cheez-its. By day, she nerds out behind the computer as a data analyst for a healthcare consulting firm, where she works to ensure all individuals have timely access to high quality health care services. 

My favorite workout at the moment is the Hill Pyramid. I find the biggest hill in my neighborhood (bonus points if it's on trail) and run time based intervals 2-4-6-4-2 with equal recovery. I run uphill on the interval and jog down on the recovery. These workouts are intended to help you practice running uphills. The intention is to match the grade of your course so that you can practice and improve uphill running skills.

This workout is special to me because I first incorporated this workout when I was training for my first Ultra in the dark, wet Seattle winter. It's exhausting, but I would partner up with friends and do it together (for safety and comradery). Because you're going back and forth on the same hill, it doesn't matter if you're a little faster or slower than your friend because you can catch up with each other on the downhill recovery. Plus it was a great opportunity to explore the different neighborhoods of Seattle and test out how running felt on different grades of steepness.

Favorite Gear? The perfect pairing for me is Balega Hidden Dry with the HOKA ONE ONE Clifton Edge. The Hidden Dry sock prevents blisters whether you're battling rain, sweat or humidity. The Clifton Edge helps you roll downhill easily, letting you really recover before you head back uphill!

Dani Running

 

 

TJay Gerber from Arvada, Colorado’s favorite running workout lately is working out with his dog.

 

TJay lives in Colorado with his wife and pup. He's an avid backcountry skier and mountaineer in the winter and otherwise enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and being a volunteer scuba diver at the Denver Aquarium.

 

I enjoy working out with my dog as a way to find mental clarity and fortitude instead of a specific training regimen. I'll run my 'normal' 5k or 10k and then do some sprints at the park with my dog. My dog, Ellie loves getting her energy out after being inside all day and I enjoy the higher intensity speed and fast cutting that involves chasing a dog around. Then, we'll both go for a cool down run for 1 mile to make sure we're not too sore the next day.

 

This workout is special to me because everyone, including our dog, is stir crazy in the house! With the pandemic, my partner and I are lucky enough to be able to work from home so it's great to get out as a family and let out some energy. This workout is purely for mental clarity and fortitude. Getting outside the house and having short bursts of energy with my dog increases my dopamine levels and decreases both of our stress levels from being inside all day. A mile cool down afterwards sets us up for success the next day and helps us settle down a bit before coming back home.

 

Favorite Gear? Since I'm on my feet a lot, Balega Enduro socks are what I've found to be best to prevent blisters and keep me moving through all seasons and sports.

Tay with dog

 

 

Chris Bowles is from Chicago and his favorite workout right now is the ladder workout.

Chris is a 39 year-old male living in Chicago and trying to qualify for Boston (for the first time).  Chris has been racing for 20 years now, having mostly done triathlons for the first 16 years. It's only been in the last 3-4 years that he’s shifted more of his focus to running to get faster. His marathon PR is 3:40, but in 2020 he set PR's in half marathons of 1:28 and 1:32. His 2021 goal is to run 3:07 or faster during a marathon he has lined up in April. 

I’ve really been liking the ladder workouts where I do 0.25 mile at a 5k pace, recovery, 0.50 mile at a 10k pace, recovery, 0.75 mile at HMP, recovery, 1.0 mile at GMP, recovery and then back down. I enjoy this workout because it mixes in the speed and distance work. It also gives you a second shot on your way down the ladder, that if you missed it the first time, you have another shot. The goal? To get faster and to build comfort/endurance at faster paces. 

Favorite Gear? My favorite socks are the Balega Blister Resists. I've been using this style for the last 2-3 years and they work great for both road and trail (doesn't matter the distance). I've also always been a music runner, so I always have my headphones. I love Aftershokz because I've struggled to keep earbuds in my ears. I also love that my Garmin has the music on my watch so I don't have to run with my phone on my runs (which is nice because I don't get the alerts of messages, emails, reminders, etc.). I love that running gives me a chance to escape for a short period of time and get lost in my own thoughts (or whatever music I'm listening to). 

January Pugh is from Atlanta and her favorite workout is the long run for marathon training.

 

January is an avid runner based in Atlanta. Her story starts in high school when she signed up for the track and field/cross country team. January quickly discovered that running was a sport that provided her with an outlet, allowing her to relax while also challenging her mentally and physically. She stopped running for a bit, but ultimately returned back to it 20 years later and have, to date, completed numerous 5k's, 10k's, 15k's, Half Marathons and Marathons. January is a RRCA Certified Run Coach, a graduate of Creighton School of Law, and a proud UCLA Bruin.

 

For my long runs, I like to stay with a conversational/easy pace for the majority of the run which can range from 8-10 miles in the beginning of the training cycle to approximately 20 miles towards the end of the training cycle. The weekends are usually the best time to get this run complete. I usually give myself about a 6 day break in between long runs.

 

My long runs truly give me a chance to zone out and enjoy the time on my feet. The goal is to hit the mileage to build my confidence along with building endurance and stamina. I am not so concerned with pace but more so just hitting the mileage. I’m really able to connect with my body, perfect my hydration needs, and test out different fuel, all which is beneficial for race day.

 

Favorite gear? I am absolutely in love with my Nathan VaperHowe 2.0 Hydration Vest. I started running with it last summer while training for the New York Marathon and I honestly wonder where has it been all of my life?! It has truly changed the game for my long runs! Now, I never leave home without it! Also, my favorite running socks are the Hidden Comfort (Limited Edition). These socks are fashionable, vibrant, and comfortable with the perfect amount of cushion. In addition to the amazing color combinations available, I love that these also come with a matching beaded bracelet that I wear as an anklet! Another bonus is that proceeds benefit a great cause. Love this collection and definitely will be purchasing more soon!

Girl running in the month of January

 

 

Andi Ripley is from Rockford, Michigan and her favorite workout right now is the GPS Art Long Run.

 

Andi is an elite distance runner and co-founder of AtoZrunning which is a podcast and website dedicated to information, inspiration, and community. She also coaches runners who are looking to thrive in life and sport.

 

I believe strongly that long runs are a staple of training for any distance runner. In fact, distance running is made up almost entirely of your aerobic fitness. Your effort should be easy for long runs to ensure your body's ability to continue high volume training during the heaviest load of your cycle. The idea of the "The GPS Art Long Run," is to break out of your routine and search for routes you have never run before. Many of us stick to our same long run week after week. Sometimes all it takes is an hour drive to an adventure that is awaiting right next door. To do this, you will want to map out your route beforehand and seek out some of the coolest places in your area to run! If you need help, learn how to do GPS art HERE!

 

Exploring on foot feeds the mind, body, and soul. When we are able to make running an adventurous experience, we meet more needs than just our prescribed training. When we do GPS art it is also a unique way to leave our digital stamp on an area as well as use our creativity and problem solving while designing the route.

 

The intended goal of a long run to create cellular adaptations by training our oxygen delivery system and our work on our fatigued state efficiency. You can learn about the science of the long run here. The other intended goal of the "The GPS Art Long Run" is to breathe new life into this important workout by adding creativity and exploration. "The GPS Art Long Run" can conveniently be executed at any time in a build up in distance training. Because long runs can vary from person to person and differ based on the distance of the goal race, any person can do an adventurous GPS Art Long Run that is sure to benefit their training.

 

Favorite Gear? A way to record and measure your run, a planned route, quality socks (I recommend Balega), hydration, sunglasses (I recommend Knockaround glasses), and a hat or visor if it's sunny.

Andi running using her phone

 

 

Sean Saxton is from Dover, Delaware and his favorite workout at the moment is the changing pace long run.

 

Sean Saxton is a runner and triathlete from Dover, Delaware. He began running in the 8th grade after middle school soccer and quickly fell in love with the sport of running during that time after racing his first 5K. In high school, he began racing every weekend and even took up cross country, indoor and outdoor track, cycling and swimming. He eventually did his first sprint triathlon in the summer of 2016 and was again absolutely hooked! After battling a stress fracture in 2019 and unable to run, he came back in 2020 stronger than ever thanks to the help of his mentors, physical therapists, and coaches and began setting new PR’s in solo virtual races. At the end of 2020 with no races/events, Sean worked to raise almost $6,000 for Cancer Support Community Delaware with his coach and son and rode his bike to set an unofficial fastest known time on Delaware’s Bicycle Route 1 which is 146 miles from the top to the bottom of the state in 7:57:37.

 

One of my favorite running workouts would have to be a changing pace long run. This workout would be designed as a 1-mile warm-up and a 1-mile cool down and then the middle miles of the run would be 1 mile at anywhere of 30-40 seconds per mile slower than 5K race pace, followed by a ½ mile easy jog in between. For example:

  • The overall long run is 12 miles and my current 5K race pace is 5:05 per mile:
  • 1 mile Warm-Up
  • 10 miles as 1 mile at 5:35-5:45 pace followed by ½ mile easy jog, then repeat.
  • 1 mile Cool-Down

 

This workout is special to me because I did a lot of these during my first half-marathon build-up and also when I was getting ready for my first Broad Street 10 miler in 2018 where I had set my current 10K PR of 33:44 during the race and at every distance thereafter. When I can continually hit the given paces constantly then I know that I am fit and ready to go. I have done some variations of this workout over the last couple of years and have been really enjoying mixing up my long runs on hilly trails as of late.

The intended goal of the workout is becoming comfortable with a goal 10 mile to half marathon race pace. By breaking it up into chunks of trying to hold race pace for only 1 mile, jog an easy ½ mile, then repeat the same effort can make it easier to digest the session and from a psychological standpoint your focus should be on each individual mile that you are running in the present moment. Soon enough the long run is over and you are cooling down.

Favorite Gear? I love running in the Brooks Adrenaline GTS series as my go-to trainer. I mostly use this on the road and for non-technical trails. For trail specific running on hilly, muddy, and rocky terrain I have been enjoying the Salomon Speedcross line of trail running shoes. I also love to wear my Balega Ultralight Crew socks for the majority of my bike and run workouts too!

 

There you have it: six new workout ideas to spark some creativity while you sweat! Look out for part 2 of this spring training workout series, coming soon!