Let’s face it. Working out in the morning can just be hard.
It’s dark… your bed is comfy… and it’s just so easy to hit the snooze button.
We’ve all been there.
Maybe you tell yourself you’ll work out after work instead…
But then life happens and you have errands to run and dinner plans get made.
So you tell yourself you’ll work out the next morning…
But then. But then. But then!
It’s a vicious cycle.
Lucky for you, there’s a perfect little pocket of time right in the middle of your day that may just be the solution to your problem.
Maybe your lunch break is the time you should use for your workout.
According to Laura Mizumoto, D.P.T., director of physical therapy at Experience Momentum in Lynnwood, WA, a mid-day sweat session is a great option. “Your lunch hour is the time when you’re likely to be the most awake and the least fatigued,” Laura explains.
This means you’re more likely to get up, get out and get moving.
The benefits will carry over into your afternoon too. The energy you get from your run will keep you from hitting that afternoon slump we all know so well.
Keep your productivity up and your mood elevated, instead of struggling to keep your eyes open until it’s time go home.
Each of the workouts below bring something different to the table, but they all share one important aspect: intensity.
When you are doing a shorter workout over a lunch break, you need to be upping the intensity to be sure you’re still getting an effective workout.
It is important to remember that just because you are trying to get done in a shorter amount of time doesn’t mean you can skip on the basics. You still need to start with a warm-up to get your blood flowing and your muscles firing.
From beginning to end these runs can all be done in 40 minutes, which still leaves you time to grab a bite to eat and get back to the office ready to take on the rest of your day.
Regardless of the workout that you choose for the day, your warm up will be the same. You are going to run for 10 minutes, starting out slowly and working your way up to about 50% pace.
You don’t need to be pushing yourself or sprinting at this point. It’s just a warm-up.
This is going to be the most basic of your lunchtime runs, a classic tempo run. Once you’ve done your 10 minute warm-up, up your pace to about 70% effort.
Maintain that pace for 20 minutes. You should not be pushing yourself to the limit, but it should be challenging.
If you want a little bit of an extra push at the end, take that last five minutes and up your pace to 80%.
After your 20 minutes are done, take it back down and finish up with 10 minutes of recovery. Keep your pace at 50%, the same as your warm-up.
This progression run is meant to be a challenge, but you can do it.
10 minute warm-up (always)
8 minutes at 70% pace
7 minutes at 80% pace
6 minutes at 85% pace
Note that there’s no recovery time between pace changes. Unlike the interval workout, a progression run is just a constant build.
Finish up with a 9 minute cool down at recovery pace.
It’s time for intervals! Start out with your 10 minute warm up, then it’s time to get going.
3 minutes at 85% pace
1 minute recovery (50% pace)
Repeat this five times for a total of 20 minutes. Really push yourself at the end with a 1-2 minute full-out sprint.
Finish with an 8-9 minute cool down at recovery pace.
We had to include one workout that had some strength training as well. This workout combines speed training and strength exercises that don’t require any equipment, so you still don’t need to be packing any extra stuff around.
After your 10 minute warm-up, kick it into high gear.
3 minutes at 85-90% pace. This is a sprint, you should be feeling it.
15 squat jumps – Stand with your feet hip width apart and your hands clasped in front of you. Push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. From there push back up and jump off the ground, extending your arms behind you. Repeat 15 times.
20 Side Lunges (10 each side) – Stand with feet hip width apart. Take a big step out to your right. Bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel with the ground, keeping your left leg straight. Push back up and bring your right foot back to its starting point. Repeat on the other side
8 Burpees – Start with feet hip-width apart. Bend down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Walk or jump your feet back to a plank position. You can do a push-up if you feel so inclined. Then walk or jump feet back to their starting position. Straighten your legs, raise your hands over your head and jump off the ground. Repeat 8 times.
Once that’s done, start over with your sprint. Try to complete the whole circuit 4-5 times, 20 minutes in total. Finish up with a 10 minute recovery run.
Mix it up with a different run each day and keep your routine feeling fresh. You can also do all of these workouts outside or on the treadmill, so Mother Nature can’t hold you back.
Take full advantage of your lunch break and continue on your fitness journey each and every day.
4 Run Workouts You Can Crank Out in Just 40 Minutes on Your Lunch Hour: M. Nicole Nazzaro; 2019