Session Two: 40 minutes

Plan A

Jump on the treadmill for a 30-minute hill pyramid (five-minute warm-up, 20 minutes of increasing inclines and 10 minutes of decreasing gradients). Then do one or two sets (about 10 minutes) of the following exercises:

Assisted Pullups
With a chair below you, grab a pull-up bar with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart, palms facing you. Slowly lower yourself until your arms are nearly straight; pause, then pull yourself back up into the starting position. Use your chair between repetitions, when needed.

Ball Crunches
Lie with your mid-to-lower back on a stability ball, knees at a 90-degree angle, torso parallel to the floor and fingers laced behind your head. Crunch up, pause, then slowly curl back down.

Ball Press-ups
Get into the press-up position with your hands on a stability ball. Bend your elbows and lower your chest, hold, then straighten your arms.

Wall Squats
Stand with a stability ball between your lower back and a wall, then squat down as if you were sitting in a chair, letting the ball roll against your back as you slide down. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor, then slowly straighten your legs again.

Plan B

On a stationary bike, stairclimber or elliptical trainer, do a five-minute warm-up. Then for the next 20 minutes, do 20- or 30-second bursts of high-intensity effort (alternating with 30 seconds of recovery); then cool down for five minutes. Follow that with two sets (10-15 repetitions each) of these three plyometric (explosive jumping) moves, which replicate hill running.

Bench Jumps
Stand in front of a low bench. Bend slightly forward at the waist, keeping your knees soft and your hands at your sides. Swing your arms back, lower your hips slightly, and jump up onto the bench, swinging your arms forward as you go. Try to land as lightly as you can. Pause briefly, step off the bench, and repeat.

Depth Jumps
Start as described above, this time on top of the bench. Now jump forwards and onto the floor. Pause briefly, then step back onto the bench, and repeat.

Jump Lunges
Stand with your feet together and hold your hands behind your head with your fingers laced and your elbows straight out. Step forward with your right foot, lowering your hips and balancing your weight between your feet. Now spring up vertically, quickly ‘scissoring’ your legs so that your left foot is in front and your right leg in back as you land. Hold, then spring up, and reverse your legs again.


Five Commandments For the Time-Pressed

We started out with 10 of these, but we know you’re short on time…

I. Thou Shalt Know Thy Heart Rate (or Thou Shalt Not Trust The Machines)
Your gym’s cardio equipment may be state-of-the-art, with audio hook-ups to six different TVs, two beverage holders and a magazine rack, but you shouldn’t trust it to track anything except the time that’s elapsed since you climbed on board. Practise estimating your own exertion – or just wear your heart-rate monitor.

II. Thou Shalt Know Thy Goals
Any session requires a purpose, and keeping yours in mind – whether it’s to build specific muscles, or just maintain your overall fitness – makes your work-outs more valuable (and less likely to be skipped when your non-exercise schedule gets squeezed).

III. Thou Shalt Remain Flexible
Be willing to cut a session short or change venues as the situation dictates. “Competitive runners have the hardest time with this,” says personal trainer Gregory Florez. “But when they do loosen up, they’re injured less – and almost always run faster.”

IV. Thou Shalt Hydrate
Most runners are good about drinking when they run, but aren’t so good when they’re in the gym. Start your session with a full water bottle in hand, and drink at least one more bottle before you’ve finished the session.

V. Thou Shalt Not Sacrifice Form
Sloppy moves mean diminished returns (and even injuries). Learn the proper form (ask the staff at a gym or a trainer), then be sure to maintain it
– through every last repetition.

Here are the other sessions:

Session One

Session Three

3 Key Home-Exercises