9 Types Of Running Workouts

No matter which race you like the best or the amount of running you normally do, most coaching programs for runners include multiple kinds of running exercises.

Variety helps keep your workouts engaging, prevents burnout, and allows for greater gains. Each type of running workout you include in your training plan has a project goal and its own rewards.

If you are a newbie in the running world, it can be very difficult to understand the vigorous terms related to workout regimens and it can take some effort to figure out the differences.

Yet, becoming familiar with the various types of runs isn’t simply to increase your ‘running nerdiness’. It also is extremely helpful for comprehending the intention and objectives for each run, which can assist you in setting your aims for each type of running on your training regime to gain the most out of the effort you put in.

Let’s make a brief journey to the running schoolroom in this extensive guide to the diverse sorts of running exercises.

1. Base Runs

Base runs are your basic training runs.

These aerobic activities enhance the cardiovascular system, make the muscles, bones, and linker tissues stronger to bear the impacts of running, keep the metabolism in check to use fat and carbs for energy, and get you out in the streets, trails, and tracks to cover your mileage.

A sizable portion of your running schedule is made up of base runs, which aren’t enormously strenuous but make up a regular part of your training program.

2. Recovery Runs

A recovery run is an easy-paced jog done shortly after participating in a race or a difficult session of exercise. It is done at a low intensity. Recovery runs assist the body in bouncing back and recharging after strenuous physical activities.

The objective is to get your heart rate up and your muscles activated to encourage better blood flow and promote healing without overtiring the body. You want to run at an easy, conversational pace. This level of effort should be roughly between 3 and 5 out of a possible 10, with 10 being the highest amount of effort.

You ought not to take it too easy on a recovery run to make it effective and beneficial. When in doubt, ease up.

If you favour running according to your heart rate, make sure your heart rate does not exceed 70% of your highest possible rate during your rest runs, but preferably even lower at a rate between 60-65%.

During a recovery jog, you should be able to hold a full conversation while running. This is known as the “talk test”.

Duration is another essential component of successful recovery runs. The objective of rehabilitation runs is not to strain the body, so it is necessary to remain your recovery runs fairly brief.

The optimal amount of time to run for the majority of runners is between 20 to 40 minutes, which is anywhere from 2 to 5 miles. This quantity should be modified depending on your current physical condition, your average weekly running distance, and your goal race length.

3. Long Runs

A long-distance run of greater length than a typical daily distance is called a long run and it helps to build up endurance, both mentally and physically, which can be beneficial when it comes to running in longer races. It increases aerobic capacity and makes it possible to manage longer distances.

Athletes typically run for a longer duration at a relaxed, pace that makes it possible for them to exchange words because the aim is to grow their aerobic capacity. Running mentors often suggest aiming to have your pulse at around 70% of its maximum during a long-distance run.

Most running plans indicate that one long run should be carried out each week, and the length of the run should typically be increased from week to week, though it is important to take steps back in the distance now and again to avoid burning out.

4. Threshold Runs

Threshold workouts have been formulated to enhance your lactate boundary or the moment when your body cannot clear out lactate from the muscles fast enough for the amount that is being generated. From here it won’t be long until you start to tire out, and your legs are likely to become sluggish and weary.

The lactate threshold typically involves running at or close to 83-88% of your VO2 max. This can be estimated from the results of a lab test or is roughly the pace you could maintain for one full hour if you gave maximum effort. Most runners set their running speed at a pace somewhere between that of a 10-kilometre race and a 15-kilometre race.

Threshold workouts involve any work done at threshold effort. You might begin your workout by heating up, followed by 4 repetitions of 5 minutes at a rhythmic rate with 2 minutes of slower running in the middle of each interval. Tempo runs are a specific type of threshold run.

5. Tempo Runs

Tempo runs include running at a sustained level of effort (usually at the rate of 10k or half marathon speed) for 20 minutes or even more.

Conditioning your metabolic system through tempo runs can help to maintain a balance between the production of metabolic byproducts and waste, preventing weariness and discomfort in your muscles, and also building up your resilience and determination by getting used to feeling uncomfortable.

This type of running exercise, such as threshold runs, encourages your cardiovascular system to transport and consume more oxygen at higher paces, which can be seen by a rise in your VO2 max (a gauge of your aerobic ability).

In this way, tempo runs improve your running economy because if you can deliver more oxygen to your working muscles while you are running and are simultaneously better able to clear metabolic byproducts made when producing energy without oxygen, you will be able to produce more energy faster with less resultant fatigue.

6. Progression Runs

Progressing runs are similar to base runs, however, the idea is to slowly raise the intensity and speed as the duration of the run continues.

At your typical pace, you could attempt a five-mile run in steps. Over the next mile, increase your speed to the pace you’d keep for a half marathon. Miles 3-4 should be run at a speed that would be typical for a 10-kilometre (10k) run, while the last mile should be running at a pace you would normally use for a 5-kilometre (5k) race.

Progressing your training can teach your body to increase speed even when you are exhausted. These kinds of jogging exercises also cultivate mental fortitude and tolerance.

The main advantage of running with progressive pacing is that it allows you to exercise both your aerobic and anaerobic systems during the same run, and the risk of overexertion and prolonged recovery is minimized if you maintain an appropriate pace.

Jogging with a steady increase in speed may not sound difficult, but it takes a lot of mental effort to have a steady and continuous rate.

Many runners have the propensity to put forth maximal effort when they start up a training routine, and forming the habit of pacing oneself to particular exercises can seem tiresome… however, gradual runs can be really helpful to concentrate on the discipline needed to control their pace.

The length or duration of your run is yours to decide; all you have to do is make sure you build on your running capacity over time and do it at a slow, manageable pace. As an illustration, you could complete 4 miles at a steady speed, 2 miles at a marathon speed, and 1 mile at an intense pace.

If you are prone to getting anxious when running slowly, or you are always pushing to go faster, incorporating progression runs (even brief ones) into your fitness program would be incredibly beneficial.

Even if you understand the importance of timing your runs, it’s still beneficial to do a workout that allows you to perform multiple tasks simultaneously to maintain a balanced exercise routine.

7. Hill Repeats

Hill repeats are sprints run up a hill. Athletes may opt for an abrupt, tall hill that could be completed in 20-30 seconds or a lengthier incline that might require up to a few minutes to climb. Your race goals will determine the grade of the slope and the length of the hill to be used.

By running up a steep incline, athletes must contend with the power of gravity, which creates the hill sprint more strenuous than going the same distance on a level surface.

The aim is to employ a highly exaggerated but correct running style. Push off with your butt and hips, lift your legs, take shorter but forceful strides, tighten your stomach muscles, and swing your arms with strength. The goal is to increase velocity, thus tackling each incline as swiftly as feasible.

Hill workouts build speed and strength. At times, running instructors even describe hill exercises as “strength training under a different name” since pushing against resistance necessitates increased operation and energy production from the muscles.

Runners interject their hill sprints with a jog down at a slow pace or may even opt for a walk down, the latter of which at times could be done in a reverse direction.

8. Fartlek Runs

Let us begin with one of the funniest-sounding running routines – the fartlek.

The term, originating from Swedish, refers to “speed play,” which is basically the same as what it suggests- experimenting with the way you perform your speed workouts.

Fartleks are a way of increasing speed that loosely combines fast and slow sections while not limiting the intensity or distance of either. This makes the whole training extremely adjustable.

Fartleks provide an opportunity to increase your physical stamina without having to be confined to exact timing or pacing.

Running with no precise goals in mind can take off the feeling of strain when exercising. Structuring your workouts can still be advantageous, as described below, but it is okay to not aim for any particular time or distance. Rather than diverting your attention, you can concentrate on building your aerobic endurance and efficiency.

Since there isn’t really a set method on how to run a fartlek, you might be uncertain about how to get started… so here are a handful of examples that you could use as inspiration:

  • Choose a running route and use your surroundings as markers for when to switch your pace (i.e., sprint to a stop sign, run an easy pace until a fire hydrant, then sprint again to the next tree, etc.). Using landmarks is technically the traditional way of running a fartlek!
  • Alternate between hard and easy paces every couple of minutes (i.e., two minutes of sprinting, four minutes of easy running, three minutes of sprinting, etc.). Don’t fret about sticking to the minutes by the letter, but use them more as a general guide.
  • Choose an overall time or distance and determine how many intervals you want to achieve throughout your run (i.e., throughout 5 miles, run 8 recovery intervals). These can be as sporadic as you’d like!

This is by no means a complete selection of techniques to use for fartlek training, yet it still provides a good understanding of how much variation they provide.

Generally, they are most beneficial during the commencement of your instruction, when you are focusing on constructing a strong aerobic base. Alternatively, you could use them as workouts which are neither too slow nor too fast to add to your tempo or threshold runs when you are further into your training cycle.

For times when you don’t really have the motivation to stick to traditional interval structures, doing a fartlek can be a great activity to break things up – not figuratively speaking.

9. Interval Runs

Now let’s recap the interval run: the fastest run of them all. Interval runs are more intense and structured than fartleks.

Running more intensively and quickly provides your body more chance to train its anaerobic system, which is what furnishes energy to your muscles when your aerobic system cannot supply oxygen to your body quickly enough… nonetheless, running anaerobically can become too much if you are required to maintain that pace for an extended period.

Interval training concentrates solely on running at high speeds in short spurts. Running a particular length at a fixed rate, generally accompanied by a certain quantity of repetitions with brief rest times in between each rep, characterizes traditional intervals.

By engaging in periods of maximum exertion while running, your body will eventually become stronger and more resistant to aches and exhaustion, which will result in improved running efficiency, letting you run faster and for longer periods at a high level.

The length of the interval runs you do will be different depending on what running goals you have and what your current capability is, but the general layout and structure of the runs will stay the same. Here’s a generic example of what your interval runs may look like:

Running at a fast pace for 30 seconds.

Going for a jog or a leisurely stroll at a slower pace for two minutes.

Running at a fast pace for another 30 seconds.

Repeat the same pattern in turns a fixed amount of times.

It is acknowledged that these figures are just estimates – accurately establishing the period, length or rate of these gaps involves more knowledge and experience.

It’s recommended to allocate about 8% of your weekly mileage for interval training. Reach out to a running coach or specialist to see what your ideal paces and distances should be.


No matter what type of runner you are, evaluate your training schedule to see if it is helping you attain your goals and maximize your capability. Consider the runs you have been doing and if they are actually beneficial to you.

Even if you don’t have any set goals to beat your best time or to get more efficient in your running, adding different activities to your routine will make it engaging and keep your drive alive to take on new ventures.


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