Types of Runs

Types of Runs

We like to think of running as a simple sport.  Just Lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Unfortunately there is a bit more to it than that if you want to run your best. Below I’ve outlined the essential types of runs every runner should incorporate into a training plan. To help you select your correct training paces enter a recent race performance into the calculator at the end of the chart. It will give you your current race pace, equivalent race paces for different distances, and training paces. It is based on the VDOT tables from Jack Daniels Running Formula 3rd Edition.
Adapted from the writings of Jack Daniels, Greg McMillan and Pete Magill.  Great coaches and runners all.

Type Description
Easy 30 minutes to 90 minutes in length. Pacing should feel comfortable, with the ability to hold a conversation. A slight variation would be a recovery run which should not exceed 45 minutes.  Easy and recovery runs should make up about 60%  of your weekly volume.
Long run 90 minutes to 150 minutes in length. Like easy runs you should be able to hold a conversation during these runs. Some variations on a typical long run would be progression runs. For some examples of progression runs see Greg McMillan’s site.  Long runs can make up anywhere between 20-30% of your weekly volume.
Tempo run There are a million ways to do tempo or threshold Runs but I’m just going to lay out a few of them.  The most common is a 20-40 run done at a pace you could sustain for an hour long race.  For slower runners this may be close to your 10k pace for faster runners this would fall between your 15k and half marathon pace. For this type of tempo run, do a few miles at easy pace then 20-40 minutes at tempo pace followed by a few miles at easy pace..Another common form of the tempo run are cruise intervals.  Cruise intervals are done at a faster pace than a standard tempo run with short periods of rest between intervals.  For example 6×1000 meters at 5k pace + 15 seconds with 200 meters jogging rest.For even more variations of tempo/threshold runs see Steve Magness’ article in Running Times Magazine. Tempo runs can be up to 10% of your weekly volume.
Interval run Intervals are what most runners are talking about when they say speed work.  They come in every shape and size, and are essential if you want to reach your potential as a distance runner.  Interval pace is somewhere between your 3k and 5k race pace.  Distance of each interval can vary from 200m-2000m but Jack Daniels pegs the ideal duration at 5 minutes, this being optimal for raising your VO2 Max.For more about VO2 Max read this and or this from Jack Daniels..Personally I believe there is a lot more going on physiologically when you do these types of workouts than just VO2 Max improvement but it seems to be what is talked about most.Interval workouts are done with rest that lasts between 50% to 100% the duration of the interval.  I generally like starting a training cycle with longer rests and then cut the rest back as I approach my goal race.  Intervals can make up 10% of your weekly volume..Some examples of interval workouts are:6×800 meters at 3k pace with 400 meters jogging rest4x1 mile 5k pace with 400-800 meter jogging rest 16×400 meters  at 3k pace with 200 meters restFor a different take on interval work for 5k training see Pete Magill’s Running Times Article.
Repetitions Probably the most neglected type of workout for distance runners, repetitions should play an important role in everyone’s training regardless of race distance.Repetition paced intervals are done at your mile race pace +/- 5 seconds.  200 meter to 400m reps are most common but they can be done up to 800 meters..Repetitions are normally done with full rest either walking or jogging. The purpose of repetition running is to improve running economy and speed.  It teaches your body to relaxed yet fast.  Rep’s can make up 8% of your weekly volume..Some examples of rep workouts are: 16×200 meters at mile race pace -5 seconds with 200-400 meter jogging rest10x400 meters at mile race pace with 400 meter jogging rest 4×800 meters at mile race pace with 800 meter jogging rest
Hills Run up hills, run down hills.  Run short hills and long hills.  Run steep hills and not so steep hills.  I don’t think I can improve on this video by Pete Magill when it comes to the basic types of hill workouts you should do.  Enjoy.

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