Ladder workouts – or speed sessions with intervals that build in increments – are a great way to work both speed and distance into a single session.
This beginner version gradually increases the length of your run/recovery intervals by one minute (rather than calling for a series of equal-length intervals) before steadily decreasing your intervals by the same one-minute increments.
Start with a five-minute warm-up at a comfortable pace. Your hard run should be at “race pace,” meaning it should feel difficult but not be an all-out sprint (in other words, not so hard that you can’t maintain it for the duration of the interval).
Jog recovery segments at an easy pace where it’s comfortable to maintain a conversation, and end the workout with a five-minute cool-down and stretch.
Use this workout whenever you feel the need to spice up your routine between races, and use it bi-weekly during training to help build your speed, confidence and endurance, regardless of race distance.