There are eight recognized types of runs. In this article, we target four of them:
Also known as a recovery run, this one usually comes after one of the other hard runs below. It should be done at a pace that is relatively comfortable enough to complete the goal mileage say of four miles. In an easy run, you are already running in a fatigued state from a previous hard run, so your muscles are learning how to adapt to various running stresses. If you ran hard runs all the time, your body would soon break down due to the excessive stress put upon it. Sprinkling easy runs into your training program give your body the break it needs, while still adding mileage to your weekly total.
The long run is meant to build endurance, i.e. the ability to run long distances and is frequently used when training for a half or full marathon. An example would be a 15-mile run at a natural pace – a pace fast enough to complete the run, but one that leaves you moderately to severely fatigued at the end. As training progresses, an individual natural pace should quicken slightly.
Because this type of run builds both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers, it is frequently used by runners to build speed and endurance. Also known as “middle-ground runs”, a typical run could be warming up for 15 minutes followed by a 30-minute progression run. In the progression run, the pace is increased by 10 to 15 seconds per mile every six minutes. The goal is to be running at threshold pace during the last six minutes of the run. The threshold pace is the point at which lactic acid is being used up as fast as it is being produced.
Swedish for “speed play”, this type of interval running is meant to develop efficiency and increase fatigue resistance by mixing a base run with intervals of varying duration or distance with recovery runs thrown in along the way.
A typical run could be six miles at a natural pace, mixed with ten one-minute 5k pace runs with one-minute jogs for recovery in the middle. Or it could be 5k progressive pace runs at starting at four minutes and progressing down by a minute each time down to one minute. The recovery run between pace runs is half of your last run time. Be sure to add on a 15-minute warm-up and cooldown and take two to three minutes’ rest between sets.
By mixing and matching these four runs into your training program, train-up for a race is progressive and will prepare you to run distance against the best personal time.