Running is great exercise, and arguably one of the most “functional” things you can do. After all, humans can often be in situations when they either need to catch up to or flee from things, like the bus or the zombie apocalypse. Running can also be really freakin’ boring. “These workouts break up the monotony of a standard run routine with full body exercises that morph you into a hybrid runner,” says Alex Nicholas, founder of EPIC Hybrid Training Center in NYC, Miami, and Providence, who designs such sessions to prep people for the rigors of obstacle course racing. “Doing exercises throughout a run workout helps release extra endorphins, which makes these runs much more stimulating—literally.” You’ll also burn a hell of a lot more calories.
1. Core Miles
All you’ll need for this one, which breaks up an “easy” run with some great core work, is a recurring timer. During a 3-5 mile jog, every five minutes on your timer, drop down and do one minute of Up Down planks (start on your hands, lower one arm at a time to your forearms, step back up to your hands). Alternate your lead hand each time you come up.
2. Burpee Blowout
This sprint ladder workout is crazy intense—the burpees serve as your active “rest” between sprints.
3. Heavy Lifting
Load up with a sandbag or weight vest to up the ante on a 3- to 5-mile run. Every 2 minutes, do 50 walking lunges, which Nicholas says will simulate a mountain hike or run.
4. Trail Blazer
Or, you could actually run on a mountain. Hit the trails for this 5- to 7-mile effort over challenging terrain. Every mile, stop and do:
20 Plyo Push-Ups
30 Broad Jumps
40 Speed Hops
5. Minute Man
For this every-minute-on-the-minute (EMOM) workout, you’ll set your timer to beep every 60 seconds. Run 100m, then do 60 squat jumps. If you have any time left before the next minute beep, you get to rest. Go for 1 to 2 miles (four to eight full laps of a standard track) for a 16- to 32-minute sweat session.
6. Century Club
Set out for a 2-mile tempo run (think: “comfortably hard”). At every quarter mile, do:
100 High Knees
100 Butt Kicks
100 Mountain Climbers
7. Animal Instincts
Take it easy at a conversational pace for 3 to 5 miles. At the end of each mile, drop for 1 minute each of:
Try to cover at much ground as possible with each move. Bear Crawl is simply going forward on all fours and Crab Crawl flips it over so you’re belly-up. Leap Frogs start crouched down in frog stance, and have you placing your hands out in front and jumping your feet in around your arms. Duck Walk starts down in a crouch, and you step forward with each leg, keeping your legs as bent as possible.
8. Uphill Battle
Find a course on pavement, trail, or treadmill that’s at a slight incline for 1 to 2 miles (do 5-7% gradient on the ‘mill). Every quarter mile, stop (or hop off) and do:
30 Jumping Jacks
30 Jumping Lunges
30 Jumping 180 Squats