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Before working at OrthoCarolina, I was an athletic trainer for the Minnesota Vikings. I saw how hard the athletes worked to compete at the top level‐‐from daily sprints and agility work, to lifting and practice, it's a schedule not many of us can match.

However, there are things we can learn from these elite athletes to improve our own running

performance. The average NFL player runs 1.25 miles per game, and while this doesn't seem like a lot of mileage, the intense bursts of speed followed by periods of rest make for a great workout. The name for this type of workout is interval training and it’s something even a casual runner can benefit from.

Here’s why interval training works so well:

  • Increases metabolism
  • Burns more calories, loses more fat, builds more muscle
  • Builds mental toughness (by pushing yourself as hard as you can)
  • Quicker workouts
  • Great for heart and cardiovascular system
  • Requires no equipment and you can do it practically anywhere

So before the Super Bowl this Sunday, throw on your Panthers gear (we are biased here at OrthoCarolina) and try one of these four power running drills.

Power Running Drills

  1. Tabata training. Sprint on a treadmill to find a max effort.  Do 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 10 minutes.
  2. "Death by 10m" ‐ Set up cones 10 meters apart.  For the first minute, run 10 meters.  The second minute, run down and back.  For the third minute, down, back, and down until you can't finish in under a minute.  A good athlete can get to 14‐16 minutes.
  3. Hill work.  Challenges calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
  4. Partner banded work ‐ find a long belt, rope, towel and partner up.  Sprint 10 meters while your partner gives you resistance.  Alternate turns.


Aaron Hewitt PA-C is a Physician Assistant with OrthoCarolina’s Sports Medicine Center. He is a former Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Minnesota Vikings (NFL), and is an orthopedic provider for UNC-Charlotte and Myers Park High School. He also is a Physician Assistant Team Lead for Sports Medicine, Spine, Hand & Pediatrics and a Clinical and Surgical Preceptor for Physician Students. In addition to CrossFit, Aaron is dedicated to running, yoga and clean eating.

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