The Ultimate Freedom Comes in Many Types of Runs
Written by Tricia Moore

For years I would say to my husband, “see ya later I am off for a run, I’ll be back”.  I would leave my work day behind and simply go. I could always depend on my body to get me from point A to B. To me, it was and still is the ultimate freedom. To lace up my shoes and take off. But making running a consistent part of your routine is anything but easy. With the recent changes 2020 has brought us, many of us have decided to lace up our running shoes. 

Types of Runs

There are multiple types of runs that can be excellent to integrate into your weekly programming. Here are a few examples.   

Base Runs

Frequency: At least two times per week

Purpose: These are the runs that help build a foundation for the runner. Base runs are kept at a runner’s natural pace, with an emphasis on building aerobic endurance and biomechanical efficiency of movement. Think of it as the foundation to building a house. 

Threshold Runs

Frequency: Once per week or once every other week

Purpose: Training at threshold encourages the runner to experience sustained uptempo work  but not to the point of exhaustion. These are often referred to as a lactate threshold runs  because the desired pace is just under the threshold of where lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood. Threshold efforts are performed at a pace just under what a runner would consider “hard,” typically 25–30 seconds slower than a 5K race pace.  

Tempo Runs

Frequency: Once per week or once every other week

Purpose:  Tempo runs are longer in duration than a threshold run (with a similar effort) and truly challenge the endurance of the runner. With this effort, you’re running only slightly less hard than your threshold pace. In a marathon training plan, for example, it may look like a 2-mile easy warm-up, followed by a 9-mile tempo run, ending with a 2-mile easy cooldown.  

Interval Runs

Frequency: Once a week, maybe twice weekly for more experienced athletes

Purpose: There are tons of benefits to adding these in, including improved cardiovascular efficiency, Vo2 max and anaerobic metabolism. Consider these structured efforts that include bouts of high intensity and rest. Intervals can come in different forms, and be formatted for distance or based on time. I will go into each type of interval in another post. 

Long Runs

Frequency: Once per week (typically on a weekend)

Purpose: These efforts build endurance . These are typically defined as anything over 60 minutes at an easy-to-medium effort pace Running long helps you to build muscle stamina and endurance as well as mental toughness. The more time you can spend on your feet, the more endurance you will build. These runs are not about pace but building that base.

Recovery Runs

Frequency: 1–3 times per week for 10–40 minutes total  

Purpose: Low-intensity, comfortable efforts that are aimed at decreasing soreness from previous training sessions. Think of them as moving blood. When you’re running, you should be able to maintain a conversational pace.  

Whether you’re new to the sport or are easing back into it, the benefits of running are undisputed. They include increased mood, improved body composition, higher quality sleep, and a hasslefree and consistent way to train, that will always be available regardless of quarantine rules. 

Also Check Out…

Getting to Know the 5 Aerobic Work Zones

Tips for New Runners to Get Started on the Right Foot

Pro Tips for Pacing Runs & Workouts


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