In order for your training to be most effective, you need to mix up your training style.
Including a lot of different running workouts in your training will increase your endurance, improve your aerobic capacity, and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
Regularly switching between running styles will also prevent you from developing overuse injuries. This will also keep you more motivated with your training as you will not be bored of doing the same thing day in day out.
There are so many different running styles to choose from, meaning that your training plan should never become boring! Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Base runs, as the name implies, form the base of your standard training. They tend to be short to mid-length runs that make up most of the mileage you cover during training.
You should try to sustain your natural pace during these runs, not overexerting yourself. The main purpose of these runs is to improve your endurance, running economy, and aerobic capacity.
If you have a heart rate monitor that you use during training, you should be reaching about 79-80% of your maximum heart rate. This is also referred to as Zone 2.
This is a Swedish term meaning speed play. They are a type of run, building on from the base runs, incorporating changing elements of duration and distance. These runs are similar to intervals but with a more relaxed attitude.
This often means that as you are running you will assign a meaning to different objects you run past. For example, you could see a postbox in the distance and sprint until you reach it. After this point, you could slow to a jog.
When using a heart rate monitor, you should combine Zones 2-4 (70-100%).
These are short bursts of explosive speed as you travel up a hill. You should look for hills with a 4-6% incline as a good starting point. It is important to warm up, cool down, and stretch well when performing this type of workout. Do not overdo them as they can quickly lead to injury.
They are the best kind of training to improve your high-intensity fatigue resistance. In other words, this running workout will stop you from getting tired as quickly. Uphill running also builds up your pain tolerance, strength, and aerobic power.
These are workouts that are split into different running speeds. They have interval periods of different intensity running - such as a sprint followed by a jog, followed by a walk.
You should use the more intense periods of the workout to push your body to its limit. By the end, you should be gasping for air and begging to slow down.
These are great to increase your running speed, combat fatigue, and improve your running efficiency and economy. They also make your body more tolerant of lactic acid buildup and help your blood deliver oxygen to the muscles more efficiently.
If you are using a heart rate monitor, your intense intervals should boost you up to 94-100% of your maximum heart rate (Zone 4). Your calmer periods should see you working between 60-80% (Zone 1-2). This will allow your body to recover during the jog in preparation for the intense burst again.
As the name implies, a long run is just that. This should be a run you do at your normal pace, but with an increase in the distance when compared to a base run.
The goal of these workouts is to increase your endurance, meaning that you can run comfortably for longer.
As a general rule, your long run should not be more than 25% of the total miles you run during the week.
For progression runs you should begin at a comfortable normal pace. As you progress through your workout and near the end of your run, you should gradually increase the pace.
By the time you reach your finishing point you should be running at a speed, you would use during a race.
If using a heart rate monitor, the beginning of your run should be reaching 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. By the end you should be aiming for 80-90%, also referred to as Zones 3 and 4.
This is the easiest of all running workouts. They are short and run at a comfortable pace following a more intense workout such as intervals.
These allow you to still work on building up your stamina and endurance without having to overexert your muscles.
These runs can also be known as threshold runs. To do these, you should run as fast as you can for a predetermined amount of time.
This will improve the speed that you can sustain in future runs and the length of time you can sustain this pace.
To get a good gauge of the pace you’re traveling at, you should focus on your breathing. If you are traveling at a good pace then you should only be able to talk in broken sentences but should not be struggling to breathe.
You should try to stick between 85-90% of your maximum heart rate, or Zone 3. Another good idea is to use an online training pace calculator to more accurately work out your pace per mile.
How to warm up correctly
You should always warm up and cool down when running. These are very important steps to prevent you from sustaining an injury that could potentially put you out for weeks.
A gentle walk for 4-5 minutes is a lovely way to get your body used to the movement and is the perfect segue from sitting to running. It is a low-intensity exercise meaning that your muscles will not get overwhelmed as they warm up and the blood flow increases.
Dynamic stretching is another great way to warm up. Static stretches have been found to correlate with an increase in injury if used prior to a run.
Dynamic stretching is a much safer and more effective alternative. Try skipping, jogging backward, sidestepping, and grapevine. You could also consider doing some butt kicks, squat walks, and high knees as warm-ups.
Another good warm-up is strides or pickups. Jog at a comfortable pace for 2 minutes and then gradually speed up over a distance of 100m. After this, slow down gradually before walking about.
Shake your legs out well for at least 90 seconds. Turn around and do it again, facing in the opposite direction. Keep your paces short and fast as you perform this warm-up.