You check into your hotel after having been folded up in seat 52B all day. You go to your room and pull out your workout duds from the bottom of your carry-on. After a few minutes of stretching, you're ready for a run. There's just one problem: you don't have enough time for a long jog.
We asked Tom Coulter for some direction on getting the most out of a short run. Coulter, a former U.S. Olympic boxing coach who's run 10 Boston marathons, trains like a boxer by combining easy jogging with speed work. The technique is called interval training, and it's designed to mimic the ebb and flow of a fight. "Interval training builds strength, speed, and endurance," says Coulter. "It maximizes a runner's workout while minimizing the time and physical stress."
There are endless variations of interval training. For one method, dubbed "The Decreasing Hundred Yards," all you need is a nearby park or football field:
- After a good warm up, run a 100-yard dash at three-quarters sprint speed.
- At the end of 100 yards, do an easy jog back to the starting point. Then sprint 90 yards.
- Now drop the sprint distance 10 yards with each circuit, until you've completed six sprints from 100 down to 50 yards. Total distance: 1.5 miles. It won't prepare you for 15 rounds at Madison Square Garden, but it will keep you from returning home with the physique of a jellyfish.
A version of this article appeared in the August/September 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.