Remote Controlled Runner

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Remote Controlled Runner

Posted on January 29, 2013

I am often asked for new workout ideas to help keep running fresh. One of my favorite suggestions is a workout I call “Remote Controlled Runner”

The “Remote Controlled Runner”, or RCR, is a simple workout that almost anyone can do. Simply put, a RCR run is a run you will take with a fellow runner, and during the workout you will let them control your pace, as if they were holding your “remote”.

Doing this is fairly easy.  First, you need to find a running partner who is a little faster than you, but who is willing to run at your pace. Once you have found this person go ahead and plan a run for a duration that you can both handle easily.  They are going to be pushing you a bit, so now is not the time to break your record long run.  If you can easily run for 45 minutes, 30 minutes is the perfect duration for this type of run.

While on this run, you will be running two paces, which you will have to illustrate to your partner before you start.  The first pace is a pace that you could hold indefinitely, think nice easy jog.  The second pace is one that you can hold for about 4 or 5 minutes. While at the second pace, you should find that your legs start to burn a bit after a minute or so, and you should also find that your breathing is more labored.

Start the workout with 10 minutes of jogging to warm up, followed by a nice stretch. Once this is done, jog for another 5 minutes. Now it’s time to start the RCR portion of the workout. Once it starts, you partner will take control of the pace. You will begin by running at the slower pace. At your partner’s discretion you will accelerate to the faster pace. You will maintain this pace for as long as your partner determines, not to exceed 5 minutes.  After you finish the fast paced running; resume the slower pace long enough to allow yourself to fully recover. For most people this means at least 2 to 3 minutes at the lower intensity level. Inform your partner once you have recovered, so that they can start the cycle again. Repeat this cycle for the duration of the workout, followed by a slow cool down jog and a good stretch.

As for why you should give this a try, I can think of a number of good reasons:

  1. It is a lot of fun. - There are few things that feel as good as a little fast running. Doing it this way allows you to get faster work in, that is unstructured, which can be a lot of fun. This workout is also a good excuse to share a workout with a fellow runner, which is always a nice thing.
  2. To give up control can be a great thing. Hard efforts can be so much easier when you let someone else take charge of the pace. There is something about giving up control that really lets you tap into your abilities. You can focus on the running, and really listen to your body, instead of worrying about holding the correct pace. Running with this mindset is always a good thing.
  3. Running fast teaches you to run fast.  Any time you spend at a speed that is a bit faster than you are used to will help to improve your ability to go fast. This workout is ideal for providing such work. Do this one often enough, and you are sure to see improvements in your speed.

So get out there, find a buddy, and give them your “remote control”.  I expect that if you give it a try, this workout will become a regular part of your schedule.

P.S.  There is a 4th reason to do this kind of workout.   After your friend tortures you, you can turn around and torture them when you are in control of the next RCR workout.