Run Forrest, Run – Part 2
In the last article, I had laid out a rough training schedule for my buddy, and those new to running. I’m going to expand on that a bit, and tell you how to bring a little variety to your training.
Please take note that I’m just giving you a general idea of the types of running exercises that there are. How and when they should be included in your training, is something I’ll leave to much more experienced people, since I’m not qualified to answer that. Your But before getting to the list, there are a few terms you need to understand.
Aerobic/Anaerobic running, and the Lactate threshold – Since I’m no expert on the topic, this is a simplistic view of it. Your body needs to convert sugar to glycogen, which is used as a fuel, or energy, in order to exercise. For the process, your body needs oxygen. When the body has enough oxygen to break down sugar into glycogen and thus provide fuel for running, it is called aerobic running. Here, you’re running at a comfortable speed. This is low-moderate exertion. Now, if there isn’t sufficient oxygen, your body produces excess of lactate, and that’s anaerobic running.
Lactate threshold, from my limited understanding, means the point after which the lactate levels in your blood build up rapidly. It’s the line at which you switch from aerobic to anaerobic running.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll introduce you to the 8 common types of running exercises –
Recovery Run/Easy Run
This is one of the more relaxed types of running, when you go at an easy pace. It’s the pace at which you can run, but still keep a proper conversation going. This helps you build some endurance, and moreover, it helps you form your technique and posture, because it’s not that intense. This could be a warm up or cool down form of running, between the more intense running types.
E.g. – Running 3-4 miles at an easy pace
The tempo run is hard enough so that you need to push yourself, but not so hard that you can’t sustain the effort. This sort of running is used to build endurance and speed levels. It is that speed which is at the lactate threshold, which means the point at which your body switches from aerobic to anaerobic respiration.
E.g. – 1 mile at an easy pace, then 3 miles at a lactate threshold pace, then 1 mile at an easy pace to cool off.
As you might have guessed, here the runner starts off at an easy pace, then gradually builds up speed. Start slow, finish fast. This type involves both, the aerobic and the anaerobic system. This is a moderately difficult workout session
E.g. – 10 minutes at an easy pace, 10 minutes at a moderate pace, and the last 10 minutes at a hard pace.
It’s just running uphill and downhill. It’s a high intensity workout session, which needs bursts of explosive energy. It can be done in short sprints running up/downhill, or can be done by running at a consistent pace on a gradually steeping hill. It increases strength, aerobic power, speed, and endurance.
E.g. – 10 minutes of easy running, then a 1 minute hard burst of hill running, followed by 2 minutes of easy running. Repeat this, say, 10-12 times. Then another 10 minutes of easy running to cool down
This is essentially a speed workout at regular intervals. You run hard with a consistent speed, for a set distance, for a set number of times. You take breaks, i.e., run at an easy pace in between the hard running intervals.
E.g. – Run for 200 metres, 8 times. In between, run at an easy pace for 200 metres.
It’s a relatively unstructured form of exercise. In this, you can include different speeds and distances in your running session.
E.g. – 10 minutes of easy running, followed by cycles of 2 minutes of hard running and a minute of easy running. At the end, easy running for 10 minutes to cool down
This is something like interval running. You go on increasing and/or decreasing the distance of your intervals.
E.g. – Increasing & Decreasing intervals – run or 400 metres, then 800, then 1600, again back to 800 and 400. In between these intervals, do an easy run for 400 metres.
Only decreasing intervals – Run or 1600 metres, then 800, then 400. Increase your pace with shorter distances, and take easy runs in between each interval.
It usually means running a long distance at a comfortable pace. However, you can modify this a bit. You can gradually increase your speed, you can prepare for a very fast run towards the end, which is similar to how you end a race. This is a great way to increase your endurance, and mental toughness when it comes to dealing with long distances.
With that, I’m ending this article. Despite writing a 2 part series on running, there’s still a lot more to cover. I would encourage you to read on the different running events by distances (what’s a 5k and 10k run, a half marathon?), common running injuries, different types of gear used for running, and so on.