The Roller Coaster Run
These runs are perfect for when you would like a challenging workout without running any faster than you normally would. A "roller coaster" run is one that you do on hilly terrain so you go up and down like a roller coaster amusement park ride.
Uphill and downhill running are certainly learned skills and they help you build running-specific strength that can help protect injuries. Plus they'll make running on flat surfaces feel a lot easier.
When you run a roller coaster, make sure to keep your effort about the same throughout the duration of the run. That means you'll likely run slower on the uphills and a bit faster on the downhills.
The Fartlek Workout
Besides being a funny word to say (it means "speed play" in Swedish), a fartlek workout is a fantastic way to get some fast running into your normal run without being too structured. You don't need a track and fartleks can be while trail running or out on the roads.
At its most basic level, a fartlek run has you speed up for a period of time, then slow down again. You repeat that process—just like intervals on the track—for however many repetitions as you'd like.
The beauty of fartlek workouts is that the pace and distance of each "interval" isn't set in stone. You can run faster for 20 seconds or 4 minutes. You can run your tempo pace or sprint.
These workouts are very helpful when you know you should be doing some type of fast running, but you're not sure how you'll feel (say, after a holiday party with a little too much spiked eggnog). You can keep the fartlek intervals short and slow and make them longer and faster if you start feeling better. It's up to you.
These workouts can help you stay in shape this holiday season without the hassle of running a super long run or needing to find a track while you're visiting your in-laws.race.