Once you’ve been running for a while – you will want to do more than just going out and doing the same thing day in and day out. This is especially true if you want to start training for races, such as a 5K or for longer distances like the half-marathon or marathon. Here are 5 different types of running that you will want to incorporate into your schedule.
1. Easy/Recovery. These runs are done at an easy pace. You will do these for nice, everyday runs or on days to recover after a hard or long workout. When you are doing an easy/recovery run you should still be able to carry on a conversation with someone.
2. Long. Just as it sounds like, these are your longest run of the week. These should be also be run as an easy pace and be approximately 20-30% of your weekly mileage. The length of your long run depends on your current fitness level. Your long run can be anywhere from 5 miles to 25 miles. As you keep on with your program – you will probably gradually increase the length of your long run.
3. Tempo. These runs are done at a faster pace – about 80% of your maximum heart rate. You want to feel challenged at the end of this run – but not totally spent. Usually tempo runs include 10 minutes of easy running for a warm up. Then the tempo part of your run for approximately 20 minutes of running. After your tempo, you want to run an easy pace for 10 minutes to cool down. These are great to start building some speed.
4. Fartlek. I’ll admit – fartlek is my favorite form of speedwork! The word fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish. They are bursts of faster running during the middle of your workout. There’s no set amount that you do – they are completely informal. I like to use telephone poles as guidelines. After warming up – run fast from one telephone pole to the next, then slowly to the next, then speed up the next, etc. Fartlek workouts can be fun.
5. Intervals. Talk to many runners and they will cringe when you mention the word intervals. Intervals are usually done on a track. They are repeated sets of fast running at a designated distance – such as 400 meters. You will warm up, do your interval, recover by running slowly, do another fast spurt, slow, etc. If you hear someone say that they are going to do 4X400 – that means that they are going to be doing 4 fast spurts at 400 meters with 400 meter recovery in between. These runs also help you to run faster and help with your breathing at a faster pace.