Two Shuttle Run Workout Options

This season shuttle runs have become a staple of my conditioning routine.

Though I still love tempo intervals, shuttle runs involve changes of direction which make them slightly more sport specific than traditional track workouts.

You can get endless variety out of shuttle run workouts by varying the distances.   This cut conditioning drill from Tim Morrill is a great example:

I tend to keep things very simple. I like the 150 shuttle. All I have to do is set up two cones 50 paces apart. I like this distance because it’s long enough to allow me to get up to full speed between changed of direction.  Here are two ways I use the 150 shuttle:

1.  Full Recovery and Sprint Endurance

Early in the season I allow almost full recovery between shuttles. Running the 150 takes me about 25 seconds. I then rest for 90 seconds and do it again. I start with 3-4 reps and work my way up to 6-8 before decreasing my rest time. I run at 100% effort for each shuttle and I get exactly the same time on each one. If I don’t get the same time, I stop. I don’t to any reps at sub-maximal speed. If I can do six shuttles in exactly the same time, I feel that my ability to sprint, to cut, and to recover are pretty good. Then I decrease the rest time to 60 seconds and start out at 3-4 reps again.

2.  Incomplete Recovery and Conditioning

If I want to shift the focus toward cardiovascular/anaerobic conditioning, I’ll decrease the rest time to 60 seconds and go until my last rep is more than 2 seconds slower than my first.  This is a great workout for conditioning and for mental toughness.

I like that there is no predetermined number of reps. You don’t get to decide when you’re done, the stopwatch does. This forces you to go all out each rep. Every rep you have to ask yourself what kind of athlete you are. Is your workout going to be over because you slacked off? Or is it going to end with you giving your best effort? If your body doesn’t have it, then you’re done. You did what you came to do. Mission accomplished and job well done. Only you will know which it was. And it will stick with you until your next workout.

The number of reps can be dependent on what your body can deliver on a particular day. If your body has accumulated fatigue, you’re forced to stop early instead of adding more. If you’ve got a lot of extra energy, you can take advantage of it by doing having a higher volume workout.


Your Homework:  Try the shuttle run this week!  What distances, reps, and rest times did you choose?


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My Favorite Intervals




2 comments to Two Shuttle Run Workout Options

  • Melissa Gibbs

    Did a 160 shuttle run this past Saturday morning with two teammates. We did four reps of it and all reps were at the same time (despite how they felt different, my watch doesn’t lie.) Didn’t test to see if we could do anymore than that, but loved how smart of a conditioning exercise it is…oh those turns….

    • Awesome! I’m so glad you decided to try it. I know what you mean by the reps feeling different even though they’re they same time. I have often been genuinely pleasantly surprised by the stopwatch (except when I’m doing workout type 2. Then the surprise is unpleasant. haha!)

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