Different Types of Runs: Detailing Various Forms of Running

Written By: Jeremy N

As a runner, it's important to vary your workouts in order to see improvements in your performance. There are several different types of runs that you can incorporate into your training plan, each with its own unique benefits.

Ultimately, the key to a successful training plan is to experiment with different types of runs and see what works best for you. By varying your workouts and pushing yourself in a safe environment, you can see significant improvements in your running performance.


Base Run

A base run is a relatively short to moderate-length run that's undertaken at your natural pace. While individual base runs aren't meant to be challenging, they're meant to be done frequently in order to stimulate big improvements in your aerobic capacity, endurance, and running economy. Base runs should make up a bulk of your weekly training mileage.

I have found that a base run is a type of run that runners use to build endurance and increase their cardiovascular fitness. It is a slow and steady run that is usually done at a conversational pace, which means that you should be able to hold a conversation while running. The goal of a base run is to improve your aerobic capacity and help you run longer distances without getting tired.

During a base run, you should focus on maintaining a steady pace and breathing rhythm. It is important to avoid pushing yourself too hard, as this can lead to injury or burnout. Instead, aim to run at a comfortable pace that allows you to maintain good form and breathing.

Some tips for a successful base run include:

  • Starting with a warm-up walk or jog to get your muscles ready for the run
  • Focusing on your breathing and maintaining a steady rhythm
  • Listening to your body and adjusting your pace as needed
  • Staying hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after the run
  • Ending with a cool-down walk or jog to gradually bring your heart rate back to normal

Overall, a base run is a great way to build endurance and improve your running performance. By incorporating base runs into your training routine, you can gradually increase your mileage and reach your running goals.


Long Run

A long run is a base run that lasts long enough to leave you moderately to severely fatigued. The purpose of a long run is to increase your raw endurance, and the distance or duration required to achieve this effect depends on your current level of endurance. Your longest run should be long enough to give you confidence that raw endurance won't limit you in races.

When it comes to running, a long run refers to a workout that is longer in duration than your average run. The length of a long run can vary depending on your fitness level and training goals, but it typically lasts anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes.

The purpose of a long run is to build endurance and improve cardiovascular fitness. It also helps to increase your body's ability to burn fat for fuel, which can be beneficial for longer races like half marathons and marathons.

During a long run, it's important to pace yourself and not start too fast. You want to maintain a comfortable pace that you can sustain for the entire duration of the run. Hydration and fueling are also important during long runs, especially if you're running for more than an hour.

Some tips for a successful long run include:

  • Gradually increasing the length of your long runs over time
  • Incorporating hills or other challenges to keep the workout interesting
  • Wearing comfortable and supportive shoes
  • Listening to your body and adjusting your pace or distance as needed
  • Refueling with carbohydrates and electrolytes during the run
  • Stretching and foam rolling after the run to prevent injury

Overall, incorporating long runs into your training routine can help you improve your endurance and prepare for longer races.


Tempo Run

A tempo run is a type of running workout that is designed to improve a runner's speed and endurance. It involves running at a steady pace that is faster than a runner's normal training pace, but slower than their maximum effort pace. The goal of a tempo run is to increase a runner's lactate threshold, which is the point at which their body begins to produce lactic acid faster than it can be cleared from the bloodstream.

During a tempo run, a runner should aim to maintain a consistent pace throughout the workout. This can be challenging, as the pace should be challenging but sustainable. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a pace that a runner could maintain for about an hour if they were running continuously.

Some benefits of tempo runs include:

  • Improved lactate threshold
  • Increased speed and endurance
  • Improved running economy
  • Mental toughness and confidence

It's important to note that tempo runs should be incorporated into a runner's training plan gradually. Starting with shorter tempo runs and gradually increasing the duration and intensity over time can help prevent injury and burnout.

A tempo run is a sustained effort at lactate threshold intensity, which is the fastest pace that can be sustained for one hour in highly fit runners and the fastest pace that can be sustained for 20 minutes in less fit runners. Tempo or threshold runs serve to increase the speed you can sustain for a prolonged period of time and to increase the time you can sustain that relatively fast pace.

These runs should include warm up mileage, the increased effort in the middle of the run and then cool down miles at the end. These runs can be as little as 3 miles.

Overall, tempo runs are a valuable tool for runners looking to improve their speed and endurance. By incorporating tempo runs into their training plan, runners can challenge themselves and see improvements in their performance over time.


What is the goal of base training? The goal of base training is to build up the body's anaerobic threshold, which is the point at which the body switches from aerobic to anaerobic energy production. This is achieved by gradually increasing intensity over time and can be done through a variety of exercises such as running, cycling, swimming, or stair climbing.

Intervals

I have found that intervals are an effective way to improve running performance. Intervals involve alternating between periods of high-intensity running and periods of rest or low-intensity running.

There are several different types of interval workouts that runners can incorporate into their training:

  • Fartlek intervals: Fartlek intervals involve varying your speed and intensity throughout the workout. This type of interval workout can be done on any terrain, and can be tailored to fit your individual fitness level and goals.
  • Hill intervals: Hill intervals involve running up a hill or incline at a high intensity, followed by jogging or walking back down to recover. This type of interval workout is great for building strength and endurance.
  • Speed intervals: Speed intervals involve running at a high intensity for a set distance or time, followed by a period of rest or low-intensity running. This type of interval workout can help improve running speed and power.
  • Pyramid intervals: Pyramid intervals involve gradually increasing and then decreasing the intensity of your running throughout the workout. For example, you might start with a short high-intensity interval, followed by a longer low-intensity interval, then gradually increase the length of the high-intensity intervals before decreasing them again.

Interval workouts consist of repeated shorter segments of fast running separated by slow jogging or standing recoveries. This format enables a runner to pack more fast running into a single workout than he or she could with a single prolonged fast effort to exhaustion. Incorporating intervals into your training plan can help you improve your speed and endurance.

Incorporating intervals into your running routine can help you improve your speed, endurance, and overall fitness level.


When Should I Fit Base Training Into My Running Plan?

Fartlek

Fartlek is a type of running that involves varying your pace and intensity throughout the run. It is a Swedish term that means "speed play." Fartlek runs are unstructured and flexible, allowing you to adjust your pace and intensity based on how you feel during the run.

A fartlek workout is a base run that mixes in intervals of varying duration or distance. It's a good way to begin the process of developing efficiency and fatigue resistance at faster speeds in the early phases of the training cycle, or to get a moderate dose of fast running later in the training cycle in addition to the larger doses provided by tempo/threshold and interval workouts.

They can also serve as a less-structured alternative to a traditional interval session such as a track workout.

During a Fartlek run, you can vary your pace by running faster or slower for short periods of time. You can also change the terrain, running uphill or downhill, or on different surfaces like grass or sand. Fartlek runs can be done alone or with a group, and they can be adapted to any fitness level.

Some benefits of Fartlek runs include improving your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, increasing your speed and endurance, and breaking up the monotony of a regular run. Fartlek runs can also be a fun and challenging way to mix up your training routine.

Here are some tips for incorporating Fartlek runs into your training:

  • Start with shorter Fartlek runs and gradually increase the duration and intensity.
  • Use landmarks like trees or street signs as cues to change your pace or intensity.
  • Experiment with different terrain and surfaces to make your Fartlek runs more challenging.
  • Don't worry too much about tracking your pace or distance during a Fartlek run - focus on how you feel and enjoy the process.

Overall, Fartlek runs are a great way to add variety and challenge to your training routine while improving your fitness and speed.


Hill Repeats

Hill repeats are a type of running workout that involves running up and down hills repeatedly. This type of workout is great for building strength in the legs and improving overall running performance. Here are some benefits of hill repeats:

  • Improves leg strength: Running uphill requires more effort from the leg muscles, which helps to build strength and endurance.
  • Increases cardiovascular endurance: Hill repeats are a high-intensity workout that can increase cardiovascular endurance and improve overall fitness.
  • Builds mental toughness: Running uphill can be challenging, but pushing through the discomfort can help build mental toughness and resilience.
  • Enhances running form: Running uphill requires good running form, which can help improve overall running form and efficiency.

To do hill repeats, find a hill that is steep enough to provide a challenge but not so steep that it is unsafe. Start at the bottom of the hill and run up at a hard effort. Once you reach the top, jog or walk back down to the bottom and repeat. Start with a few repeats and gradually increase the number over time.

Hill repeats are repeated short segments of hard uphill running that increase aerobic power, high-intensity fatigue resistance, pain tolerance, and run-specific strength. The ideal hill on which to run hill repeats features a steady, moderate gradient of 4 to 6 percent. Hill repetitions are typically done at the end of the base-building period as a relatively safe way to introduce harder high-intensity training into the program.

Overall, hill repeats are a great addition to any running routine for those looking to improve their strength, endurance, and form.


Progression Run

A progression run is a type of running workout where the pace gradually increases over the course of the run. This type of run is a great way to build endurance and speed. During a progression run, you start at a comfortable pace and gradually increase your speed until you are running at a faster pace than your normal pace.

A progression run is a run that begins at your natural pace and ends with a faster segment at anywhere from marathon down to 10K pace. These runs are generally intended to be moderately challenging, harder than base runs but easier than most threshold and interval runs. Because they're a medium-effort workout, the recovery time is less than more intense sessions.

The purpose of a progression run is to train your body to gradually increase your speed and endurance. This type of workout is great for runners who want to improve their running performance. The gradual increase in pace helps to build endurance and speed, which can help you run faster and longer.

Here are some tips for doing a progression run:

  • Start at a comfortable pace and gradually increase your speed.
  • Focus on your breathing and form throughout the run.
  • Don't push yourself too hard, but challenge yourself to run faster than your normal pace.
  • Gradually increase the distance of your progression runs over time.

Overall, a progression run is a great way to challenge yourself and improve your running performance. By gradually increasing your speed and endurance, you can become a stronger and faster runner.


Recovery Run

A recovery run is a short, easy-paced run that can help you add mileage to your training without taking away from your performance in harder workouts. It's best done as the next run after a hard workout, and should be done slowly enough to feel comfortable despite lingering fatigue from the previous run.

As a runner, I understand the importance of recovery runs in my training regimen. A recovery run is a low-intensity workout that is performed after a high-intensity workout or race. The purpose of a recovery run is to help the body recover from the previous workout or race, and to prepare for the next one.

During a recovery run, I typically run at a slow pace, focusing on my breathing and maintaining a comfortable level of exertion. I also pay attention to my body, making sure that I am not pushing myself too hard. Recovery runs are not meant to be challenging or intense, but rather, they are meant to be a way to give my body a break and allow it to recover from the previous workout or race.

In addition to helping me recover physically, recovery runs also help me mentally. They give me a chance to clear my mind and focus on my breathing and form. They also help me stay motivated and focused on my training goals.

Overall, recovery runs are an important part of any runner's training regimen. They help the body recover from high-intensity workouts and races, and they also provide a mental break and help maintain motivation.


Frequently Asked Questions

Types of Running Workouts

There are several types of running workouts that runners can use to improve their fitness and performance. Some of the most common types include:

  • Interval Training: This type of workout involves alternating periods of high-intensity running with periods of rest or low-intensity running.
  • Tempo Runs: These are sustained efforts at a challenging pace that help runners build endurance and improve their lactate threshold.
  • Fartlek Training: Fartlek workouts involve varying the intensity and duration of running intervals in an unstructured way, often incorporating hills or other terrain changes.
  • Long Runs: These workouts involve running at a comfortable pace for an extended period, typically lasting anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes.

Base Run vs Easy Run

Base runs and easy runs are both types of low-intensity workouts that can be used to build aerobic fitness and endurance. The main difference between the two is that base runs are typically longer and slower than easy runs, and are often used as a foundation for more intense workouts.

Types of Running Exercises

In addition to running workouts, there are also a variety of exercises that runners can use to improve their strength, flexibility, and overall fitness. Some of the most common exercises include:

  • Strength Training: This can include exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts that help build lower-body strength and power.
  • Plyometrics: These explosive exercises, like jump squats and box jumps, help improve running economy and power.
  • Yoga: Yoga can help runners improve their flexibility, balance, and mindfulness, which can all contribute to better running performance.

Three Levels of Running and How They Differ

There are generally three levels of running: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The main differences between these levels include the intensity and volume of workouts, as well as the overall fitness and experience of the runner. Beginners typically focus on building a base of aerobic fitness and endurance, while intermediate runners may incorporate more challenging workouts like tempo runs and interval training. Advanced runners often have a higher volume of training and may focus on more specific goals, like racing at a particular distance or improving their speed.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

Become a Train For a 5K Insider