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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Types of Runs

I stumbled upon this reference that includes all different kind of training runs.
I found it helpful and thought I would share.

All of these types of runs are done to accomplish different goals and objectives.

The easy run or recovery run is simply a run at an easy pace done for recovery purposes or just simply enjoyment. Most of a beginner’s runs should be easy runs. These runs improve a runner’s aerobic conditioning. The intensity of these runs should permit conversing using complete sentences (60-75% of your maximum heart rate).

Jogs usually refer to slow running done to recover between intervals. Runners and (especially) non-runners will sometimes use the term "jog" for a slow run for exercise. Runners tend to prefer to refer to what they do as running; but usually know that if a non-runner refers to you as a jogger, they probably don't mean any harm.

Long Runs are typically 25-30% of your weekly mileage or so and are usually done once a week. These are usually done at a comfortable, fairly easy pace. We often refer to them here as LSD -- long, slow distance or long steady distance. An appropriate long run distance is determined by your goals. A long run might be anywhere from 5 miles to 25 or more (for an ultra marathoner).

"_______ pace runs" refer to running your predicted or expected race pace. So if a workout were to call for doing miles at "marathon pace," that means running at your predicted marathon pace per mile. That could be anything from 5:00/mile for someone fast to 12:00 minutes a mile for someone slower. A 5K race plan may call for doing intervals (explained below) at your 1 mile race pace. A good way to figure out your expected paces is to use an online calculator. The McMillian Calculator is excellent.

A tempo run is a run at around your 10-15K race pace (or about 80-85% of your maximum heart rate or so). Traditionally tempo runs were 20 minutes or so in length, but they vary. It's often described as being "comfortably hard" -- it's a challenging, but manageable pace. You want to finish a tempo feeling challenged, but not exhausted. Most tempo runs consist of ten to fifteen minutes of easy running, then the tempo part, then ten to fifteen minutes to cool down. Tempo runs build speed and teach your body to run at a certain pace.

Related to tempo runs are cruise intervals. Like tempo runs, these runs are designed to help you learn to deal with the accumulation of blood lactate; they are sometimes called lactate threshold (see Physiological Terms) runs. Cruise intervals are usually 3 to 15 minutes in length, with 1 minute or so of recovery for each five minutes of run time.

A fartlek is a fun word that you can say and make non-runners snicker. It simply is an informal way of doing speed work. It's a Swedish word meaning "speed play." In a fartlek, you would run hard to say the next telephone pole, then slow down, then run hard again to the next object. It's just basically bursts of speed in the middle of a workout. It can be easy or hard. There's no set distance or speed, it's very loose and informal. Fartleks are good for a beginning runner who wants to dabble in speedwork.

Intervals (sometimes called "repeats") usually refer to track work, though you can do them elsewhere. Usually intervals consist of a set distance (say 400 meters, 800 meters, a mile) that you run at a set, usually fast pace. Between the intervals, you would recover by either jogging slowly or walking. People often do them on the track because the track is obviously measured. An example of an interval workout might be 4x800. This means you are going to run four sets of 800 meters (or about a half mile) at a certain pace. Between those faster runs, you will walk or jog to recover. Often an interval workout will give you the pace you're supposed to run and the time you should take to rest. Usually rest time is roughly equivalent to how much time it takes you to run the distance. So in our 4x800 example, if you were doing the 800s in 4:00 minutes (8:00 mpm pace), you would take about 4:00 rest. Intervals build speed and improve aerobic capacity (See Physiological terms).

Just a brief word about the track .... If you visit the track to do a workout, know that most tracks are 400 meters in length. (There are some quarter mile tracks, but most are 400 meters.) A mile is roughly equivalent to 4 laps around the track. A mile is actually a little longer than 1600 meters. If you want to do a true timed mile, find the common finish line. (It's usually located at or near the end of the straightaway in front of the home stands. Usually has numbers painted there.) Go back 9 meters and there should be a line. That’s where the mile would end.

Repetitions are a form of repeats that are faster and shorter than intervals with full recovery between them (usually 4-6 times as long as the repetition). These are used for improvement of anaerobic capacity, running form and running economy.

A ladder is an interval workout of increasing interval lengths, such as 200-400-600-800 meters.

A cutdown is the opposite of a ladder or an interval workout of decreasing interval lengths, such as 800-600-400-200 meters.

A pyramid is a combination of a ladder and a cutdown, such as 200-400-600-800-600-400-200 meters.

You will also hear about hill repeats -- these typically are runs up a hill at a fast pace to build strength. I personally hate hill repeats, so I prefer to run hilly courses instead.

Strides are short, controlled bursts of running of 50 to 150 meters designed to improve efficiency, work on form, etc. Often done at the end of a run.

Warm Up is a period of slower running prior to faster running. Cool down, sometimes called warm down, is slower running at the end of faster running.

Reference ~


Kylene said...

Thanks for this. Very informative. I am going to send it to my runner friends to read. :)

Lisa said...

this is a fantastic post, thank you! I usually stick to only a few types of workouts, but I definitely need to start doing others once I'm running again! Thanks for making it so clear!

I'm glad you liked my post today and I think it's so exciting that your daughter wants to run as well! You're setting such a great example!

Glenn Jones said...

The whole key tk improving is how much time is spent where. Most people spend far too much time in tempo or pace runs and no where near enough time in easy, recovery, or long runs!