Sub-1hr session: Fitness and form

Winter runs don’t all have to be long and slow – spice up your off-season training in 60mins with this beginner-level workout

Sub-1hr run session: fitness and form

Are you struggling to keep your off-season run sessions interesting? Winter runs don’t all have to be long and slow – top tri coach Michelle Dillon provides one of her favourite beginner sessions to spice up your winter training.


It’s not a session to undertake too close to a race, so a week out from competing would be perfect for beginners, allowing plenty of time to recover, but providing the feel of some race-pace efforts. One harder session and a long run every week are important to improve as a beginner.

For this session you’ll need: run shoes, clothing layers to shed as you warm up, and a recovery drink or snack for afterwards.

Fitness and form


20mins gentle warm-up.

Main session

Approx 20mins as: 2 x 90secs (strong pace, holding form) with 90sec rest; 4 x 60secs (60sec rest); 4 x 30secs (30sec rest); 4 x 15secs (15sec rest).


20mins easy jog.

Main benefits

Performance benefits

It increases your fitness, form and top-end speed and helps train your body to surge when you want to surge and recover when you need to recover.

Mental benefits

If you show yourself in training you can do X, then you’ll have the confidence to do it in a race situation. Otherwise all you’ll know is one pace.

It makes you work harder because you naturally try to increase the pace as the intervals reduce, however the rest period is coming down too, so it’s not as easy to recover.

Physiological benefits

The body is under pressure to run while trying to clear accumulating lactic acid. With the correct refuelling and recovery after this session, it helps the body adapt and improve. It doesn’t matter how fit you are as you go at your own pace, with a long warm-up and cool-down to ease the leg muscles in and out of the session on a cold day.

Adapt for Ironman

Providing a change of pace which is often missing in Ironman training, the key would be to concentrate on good run technique rather than out-and-out speed. It reduces the chance of injury, plus form is crucial when having to run 42km off a 3.8km swim and 180km bike.

(Images: Romilly Lockyer)


How do you keep your winter run sessions interesting? Let us know in the comments!