A Complete List of Running Workouts

A wide variety of running workouts make up a well-balanced running training program. The various workouts differ in length, terrain and intensity and collectively they serve to properly prepare you for your running goals by causing specific physiological adaptations. While many of these workouts are broken out further and have dedicated pages on this website, this page provides a complete listing of all the running workouts that you’ll find prescribed on most of the training programs here. Each workout includes a brief description, training purpose and tips for proper execution.

  • General Aerobic Runs – these runs make up the majority of the miles within a training program . The key to these runs is staying within your aerobic zone for at least the majority of the run. Spending ample time within your aerobic zone promotes a healthy balance of fat and glycogen energy partitioning. Also, since the intensity is low to medium, recovery is minimal and your body has the opportunity to to adapt quickly within this zone. To establish a good estimate of your aerobic zone, refer to the heart rate training zone page.
  • Medium Long runs – these are runs that range in distance between the 10 and 15 mile mark. These are a great stimulus of aerobic cellular development for runners training for endurance events such as the half or full marathon. However they are also of great benefit to build a solid foundation for runners of shorter distances. Since these running workouts are typically sandwiched in the middle of a higher volume training week, the intensity should be kept to the aerobic zone for the majority of the run.
  • Long runs – these are the grand-daddy of all the workouts for proper endurance training preparation. Long runs typically range anywhere from 16 to 24 miles (or more) and provide a long list of training benefits that prepare you well for the demands of endurance events. In short, an endurance training program without long runs is not a training program!
  • Track workouts/Intervals – intervals workouts, which are most commonly done on an outdoor track, have a wide range of frequency, distances and intensities which depend on the specific event that a runner is preparing for. For shorter distance events such as 5 and 10ks, quicker paced 200 and 400 meter repeats are commonly prescribed workouts where longer repeats such as 800 and 1600m performed at a slightly slower pace provided a good stimulus for longer distance runners.
  • Hill Training – hill repeats can be long and gradual or short and steep. Hills are one of the most effective running workouts for overall strength and speed development. They simultaneously work your heart, lungs and legs in a way that no other workout can. Hills are the secret weapon of great runners of all distances.
  • Fartlek Runs – these are essentially interval-type workouts that are really have no structure. The idea is to have fun and be creative. From short bursts between telephone poles to jumping branches and playing commando in the push, fartlek workouts can be incorporated on occasion to spice up and otherwise drab general aerobic run.
  • Tempo Runs /AT runs – to be performed correctly, these are running workouts that require a runner to have a good awareness (preferably through lactate blood analysis) of their training zone known as their lactate balance zone. They are particularly uncomfortable runs that require great focus and teach a runner ‘s brain and body to sustain aggressive speeds for prolonged periods. This running workout is an excellent training stimulus for more advanced half and full marathoners looking for a good performance.
  • Recovery Runs – these ideally low intensity and low distance runs are a method of active recovery following a higher intensity workout or race. Rather than sit around and do nothing, recovery runs help to promote blood flow to areas with inflammation. Great care must be taken to properly warm up and keep the pace down throughout the entire run. Following up with gentle stretching routine can be of great benefit to loosen things up as well.
  • Pacing Run – depending on the event you’re training for, these workouts provide the opportunity to practice the pace that you plan to hold during the event you are training for. For example, a half-marathon can be run at your projected marathon pace as a way to reinforce what you expect your body to do on marathon day. Pacing runs can even be done in small chunks such as the last 3 miles of a long run. The goal of the pacing run is to train to the exact pace without going too slow or fast so that it will become second nature.

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