If you run for the aerobic part of your exercise program, mixing it up keeps it interesting and can be extremely effective.
I’m sure you’ve heard of HIIT, high intensity interval training. I do this on my weekday runs. They last an hour so it’s longer than most hiit programs tell you to do, but I have my own variation. The track I run on is 1.3 miles long and I do 4 laps total.
The first lap involves basically warm up. I’ll walk until my legs and knees feel really warmed up. Then I’ll do some moderate jogging with some walk periods.
2nd lap kicks in serious hiit. One section of the track is a steep hill. I run that hill at a very fast speed, about 85% of my sprint speed. It takes me about 30 seconds to get to the top. I walk down the other side to a bridge, then on the flatter part I’ll again do my run. A short walk period gets me back to the hill and I repeat this 4 times total.
8 sprints with rest periods.
The rest of the run varies depending on how I feel. Basically I could just quit now but I want an hour (I drop my wife off at her cardiac rehab at hospital and that takes a little over an hour). I might throw in some fast runs, some walks, some slower long runs; whatever. That’s followed by a solid 5 – 7 minute cool down walk.
Sundays are slow, easy runs. I just enjoy them, check out the scenery through whatever area I am running, and keep a decent pace but on the slow side. Kind of a recovery from the speed work but getting in my aerobics. I’ll do 5 – 6 miles.
Try it. Vary your running exercise and see if it doesn’t benefit you more than just simply jogging all the time.