Do you know there are 8 different types of running styles that you can integrate into your running schedule to become a better runner?
My friend was surprised when I ask him about the running type while responding to his next day running plan. And I am sure this would be a natural reaction with most of the people.
While running seems easy – you just have to lace up your shoes and head outdoor! Knowing about the different types of running and including them in your running plan will boost your running economy.
Treat this as a Running platter. Every Running type has a different flavour and benefits. Wouldn’t it be exciting to add the varieties to your running dish?
These different types of running, if practised, will not only improve endurance, efficiency and aerobic capacity but will also strengthen your cardiovascular system and your muscles.
Bonus: By not doing the same run every day, it reduces your chance of injury – and boredom 😊
So, without taking much of your time, let’s quickly discuss these 8 types of running:
1. Base Run
Purpose: Build your strength and aerobic capacity plus develop the running economy
Also known as Normal Run, Base Run is the basic type of running and is your usual natural effort run played at a conversational speed (i.e., the speed at which you can talk while running).
Base Runs work on your leg and core muscles and enhance circulatory fitness, thus help you develop efficient running form.
Remember, Base Run should not be too challenging and should be run at a comfortable pace, letting you be run often.
Though, if you are new to running, you may find it a little difficult to regular your pace. But you need not to worry about this as you will figure out to time yourself at a comfortable speed within a few days of your run.
Base Run Examples:
- 2 km run at conversational speed
- 5 km run at conversational speed
- 30 minutes run at conversational speed
2. Long Run
Purpose: Build your endurance and improve mental stamina
The staple type of running, Long Run is an extension of the Base Run, helps in preparing the body for the demands of longer road races. The key target is to boost the distance over what you can comfortably achieve during your Base Run.
Commonly run on a weekend, Long Run bless you with numerous physiological benefits. These include improved cardiovascular fitness, the strengthening of the leg muscles and better mental stamina. The Long Run also teach your body to well utilize glycogen stores and to deal with glycogen depletion.
Long Run Examples:
- 2 hours run at conversational speed
- 10 km run at a conversational pace
- 21 km run, broken down as 5 km easy, 10 km at a better race pace, 6 km easy
3. Progression Run
Purpose: Train your body and mind for that extra push
As the name suggests, Progression Run is designed to commence at your natural pace and work its way to a faster pace as the run progresses.
While most of us can start a run at a natural pace, Progression Run challenges you as it wants you to finish the race at a tough pace instead.
These types of workouts are moderately challenging and help train your body to be able to put out that final push towards the end of a race.
Progression Run Examples:
- 45-minute run – 15 minutes easy, 15 minutes moderate, 15 minutes challenging speed. The pace should be gradually increased across 3 speeds.
- 10 km run with last 2 km at best effort pace
4. Tempo Run
Purpose: Develop lactate threshold; get the body used to run extended sessions at a fast pace.
Also sometimes called a Threshold Run, a Tempo Run is the intense type of running, usually performed at the fastest pace that you can sustain for a certain period. The run helps build endurance and boost your lactate threshold.
The lactate threshold is the maximal effort or intensity that an athlete can maintain for an extended period with little or no increase in lactate in the blood.
Tempo Run prepare the body right on the edge of this threshold, helping your body understand how to run fast and in parallel clear that lactate.
Tempo Run is the important type of running workouts for runners training for 5Ks up to marathons.
Tempo Run Examples
- 15-minute tempo run
- 1 km of jogging to warm up, followed by 3 km at the fastest pace that can be sustained, supported by 1 km of jogging to cool down.
5. Interval Run
Purpose: Build momentum for several run distances
The interval type of running consists of short or long bursts of fast uncomfortable intense effort runs separated by equal or slightly longer segments of slow jogging or recovery runs.
Interval Run is proper for experienced runners, especially those preparing for 10K and above distances. Beginners should develop the base first by incorporating Base Run and Tempo Run into their workout schedules.
Interval Run Examples
- 4×1 km at target half marathon pace, followed by a 10-minute recovery jog
- 1 km of jogging to warm up, followed by 4×500 m runs at an intense pace, followed by 2 km of recovery run to cool down.
- 8x400m at 5K goal pace with 200-meter recovery jog
6. Fartlek Run
Purpose: Build speed endurance in a fun way
Fartlek Run is my favourite. I termed it as a fun type of running simply because there is no rule assign to this. Confused? Ok, let me explain –
Fartlek Run is derived from the Swedish word Fart which means Speed. Lek means Play. So, Fartlek loosely translates to Speed- Play. So, basically, it’s a form of Interval Run that’s less structured than usual interval workouts.
The run adds fun diversity to your running plan and is flexible based on your fitness level. That’s why Fartlek Run is a great way to introduce speed work.
- Object Fartlek – Assign an object, let’s say Tree and run with pace and intensity until you reach it, and then run slow towards your next object such as Car.
- Music Fartlek – Alternate your running pace on different music beats. You can speed play this along with your friends and add fun to your running practice.
7. Hill Run
Purpose: Build aerobic power; fatigue resistance and pain tolerance
Bored with the regular terrain running! Want to attempt something more intense! Try Hill Run.
Hill Run is a great way to boost your muscles strength while developing stamina. It also allows our routine Base Runs to feel easy and comfortable. A steady and moderate slope of 4 to 6 percent is an ideal hill gradient to perform Hill Run.
Hill repeat is typically announced at the end of Base Run workouts as a safe way to introduce tougher high-intensity training into the run workout structure. Just make sure not to run as long as your regular Base Runs as Hill Repeats are run at a much higher intensity. Doing too much, particularly too early will increase the risk of your injury.
Hill Run Examples
- 45-minute run on a hilly route; run a steady, challenging pace on the uphill, then run a relaxed pace on the downhills.
- 10 x 2 minutes up a slight incline hill with a walk or slow jog back down each time.
Note: Though running on a hill is an ideal way to perform this workout, you can try a treadmill run (increasing its slope) in case you don’t have a hilly area near your location.
8. Recovery Run
Purpose: Speed Up the healing process by improving blood flow, plus they have some aerobic advantage.
This is the last segment in the type of running. Recovery Run as the name suggests is the last leg of your running workout in order to relax your body and overcome fatigue and soreness.
Also known as Easy Run, the run is attempted at a comparatively easy pace. This is best done after a difficult workout, such as an Interval or Tempo Run so that you can still add certain mileage to your run without pressing your body too much.
Recovery Run Examples
2 km at an easy pace after Interval, Hill or Tempo Run.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, including these 8 different types of running in your workout schedule will improve your running performance and make you a faster, better, and less injury-prone runner.
Bonus: To simplify your weekly running schedule, you can use the 80:20 rule.
i.e., 80% of your running should be at a comfortable and easy pace and 20% of your workout can be challenging runs (viz. Tempo Run, Interval Run, Long Run).
Now, there’s flexibility here: Experience Runners can go for 70:30 and beginners can go with 90:10.
This is the standard running schedule many athletes also follow around the year.
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