Fatigue Fighting Workouts

By Rick Morris

Finding the cause of running fatigue used to be a simple matter. You thought you either had muscles that were worn out or you were suffering from a lactic acid overload. Now we know that it’s much more complicated than that. Distance running fatigue is now thought to be caused by a complex interaction of peripheral muscle fatigue, changes in blood chemistry and protective central nervous system reactions to those changes. The causes of fatigue may be complex, but your fatigue fighting training doesn’t need to be. To improve your body’s resistance, or more correctly, your body’s response to peripheral muscle and metabolic changes you need to do workouts that bring about those changes. Here are just a few valuable fatigue fighting workouts that will improve your ability to deal with distance running fatigue.

400/800/400 Meter Compound Sets

This compound set combines the fatigue fighting benefits of both positive and negative split training. After a warm up run 400 meters at a very hard pace or close to mile pace. Then slow to about 10K pace for 800 meters before speeding back up to mile pace for the final 400 meters. Rest for two minutes and repeat for your desired number of repetitions. I would suggest beginning with three compound sets and gradually build to six as your fitness improves.

5 x 3 Minute Repeats

Here is a classic distance runners workout that is always very effective at building fitness and fighting fatigue. It challenges you both physically and mentally. Warm up and then run for 3 minutes at a very hard pace or about 3K race pace. Repeat this four more times for a total of 5 repeats with 2 minutes of rest between each repeat.

Corner Burners

The next time you’re at your local track, try this tough but exhilarating fatigue fighting workout. After a thorough warm up, alternate between running the 100 meter straights at tempo pace and the 200 meter corners at mile pace. Continue until you can no longer hold on to proper form and pace.

Fast Finish Long Run

This fatigue fighting training run is specifically designed for the marathon but can be used effectively for all training goals. Run 21 miles. Run the first 10 at easy endurance pace and the next 8 miles at goal marathon pace. Then speed up to 10K pace for 2 miles and finish with 1 mile as fast as you can maintain.

10 x 100 Meter Stride Crosses

This is not only a great fatigue fighting workout but is great for form and efficiency improvement. Go to your local track and run a 100 meter acceleration stride diagonally across the infield. Jog straight across the end line to the other side of the field and then run another 100 acceleration stride diagonally the other way across the field and then jog the end line back to your starting point. Your two strides should make a cross in the field. Repeat that sequence nine more times with no recovery other than jogging the end lines. You can make this even more effective by performing these barefoot.