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Training

Workout of the Week: Brad Hudson’s 3 x 3 Miles

Improve your aerobic capacity with this threshold session.

Improve your aerobic capacity with this threshold session. 

Brad Hudson, founder and head coach of Hudson Training Systems and author of “Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon,” knows a few things about training for long-distance races.

The Boulder, Colo.-based Hudson, who has a marathon personal best of 2:13:23 to his name, has mentored some of the top distance runners in the United States over the past 10 years, including some notable names like Dathan Ritzenhein, Jason Hartmann, Jorge Torres, Tera Moody and others. In 2012, Hudson had 11 of his athletes qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, while three of those runners—Fernando Cabada (7th, 2:11:53), James Carney (9th, 2:1223), and Patrick Rizzo (13th, 2:13:42)—all ran personal bests at the Trials in Houston.

A student of the sport since his high school days, Hudson counts Italian coach Renato Canova as amongst one of his biggest influences. Canova’s emphasis on the importance of threshold training is an important lesson Hudson hammers home to his own athletes throughout the year.

One of Hudson’s favorite workouts in this regard is 3 x 3 miles (or 3 x 15 minutes) with a 60-second jog recovery between reps.

“It is done to raise all thresholds—at, below and above—and for maintaining your most optimum aerobic capacity,” explains Hudson, who says the workout should be done no more than once a week. “It can be done very scientifically or by feel—early, middle or late in a training cycle—anytime you feel the need for an effective shot of aerobic enzymes.”

Here’s how to do it:

The Warmup

Run easily for 2-3 miles (or 15-25 minutes); follow with dynamic stretching exercises, drills, and 4-6 x 20-second strides.

The Workout

After warming up, run 3 x 3 miles (or 3 x 15 minutes) with a 60-second jog recovery between reps. Within each 3-mile (or 15-minute) segment, run each mile (or 5-minute increment) progressively faster, starting at marathon pace and working down to half-marathon pace. If you train by heart rate, run the first mile (or 5-minute increment) at 10 beats below threshold, the second at 5 beats below threshold and the last one right at threshold.

The Cooldown

Run easily for 2-3 miles (or 15-25 minutes), stretch, refuel.