Different Types Of Running Workouts (run faster, get stronger)

girl running on hills different types of running workouts

This article aims to give you information about the different types of running workouts that you can do and practice to improve your running journey. 

Goal:

  1. Develop Strength
  2. Build Endurance
  3. Improve Stamina
  4. Build Muscles
  5. Gain confidence with running
  6. Improve Speed
  7. Avoid Injury
  8. Challenge yourself

If you ever come across a running training plan you will encounter the terms like fartlek, speed works, cross-training, easy run, tempo, Vo2 max and other confusing words. This is important if you want to improve in your running, crush your goal and prevent injury.

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When it comes to running, having variation is the key to reach your goal aside from the physical benefits it can give. It is also good for your mental strength and it will give you extra motivation. By doing the different types of running workouts you give yourself new opportunities, challenges and experiences and also a change in running location mean the workout won’t be boring. 

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Now let’s discuss the different types of running workouts, if you are a beginner no need to be overwhelmed with these different types of running workouts and you don’t have to jump from one running workout to another. It is important to start small with the basics and find your comfortable pace first and avoid running out too fast.

different types of running workouts-athletes sprinting
image from Canva

Different Types Of Running Workouts

1. Base Run

Base running is the building foundation of your running journey and it can be done in short up to moderate distances. On this type of running workout it’s not about speed therefore you don’t have to run fast. The goal is to run at a comfortable conversational pace and not catch your breath. If you are having difficulty talking while running then slow down your pace.

*Trick: I remember when I’m just starting to take running seriously I bump on a tip to sing a Happy Birthday song and if I’m having a hard time singing while running then that is not yet my pace. Try it and see how it works for you.

In doing base running you can focus on your form, foot landing and breathing. It may seem easy but base running is done on a more frequent basis to help develop your aerobic efficiency before jumping to anaerobic capacity.

Aerobic efficiency – a light to moderate activity that an individual can sustain over a long period of time.

Anaerobic efficiency – it can be a high-intensity activity done in a shorter period like sprinting.

Vo2 Max – it is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption when doing high intensity exercise. It is a way of measuring an individual’s aerobic capacity.

2. Fartlek

A Swedish word which means “speed play”. A combination of fast running and slow running for recovery and defined as unstructured. It is a mix of aerobic running with sprinting that you can play around with. 

An example of this is running at your normal pace then you see a tree at the corner so what you will do is to sprint the distance or with pedestrians and traffic lights sprinting it before the green light changes to a red light.

This can be a fun running workout and doing fartlek can help your body to adapt by adding effort and variety from your base run. This is helpful in building endurance and speed at the same time you will learn to change gears in running and adapt or apply it to races.

Since fartlek is unstructured you can definitely do it in road running and incorporate it with a long-distance run.

3. Tempo Run

Also known as a sustainable hard running effort or comfortably hard. The goal of this running workout is to increase your anaerobic threshold also known as lactate threshold. It means to run at a fast pace that requires you to push yourself but at the same time sustain running at that pace for a longer period of time and it can be slower than your 5k race pace.

If you can sustain running at a harder pace of 45 minutes to an hour it can greatly help you to become fast and focus on your goal. When your lactate threshold increases you’ll be able to run faster without getting tired quickly.

For beginners ideally, try to practice doing tempo runs for about 15 minutes it will depend on how comfortable you are with this running workout. It is also important to incorporate a warm-up before a tempo run and a cool-down run after executing a tempo running workout.

If you are monitoring your run with a heart rate belt or watch your ideal pace will fall between 80-90% of your maximum heart rate.

Be sure to be noticeable for your early or late night runs.

4. Interval Run

The interval running workout incorporates high intensity running with rest in between. Unlike fartlek, interval training is structured because the distance is set or fixed and rest periods are also equally timed.

This workout involves running really fast with great effort and at the same time recovering with slow running or even walking.

In order for a runner to be fast and finish a race strong, interval running can greatly help because of the speed works involve with the muscles and to be able to run without getting tired quickly.

When doing interval training know that it involves a lot of hard work from your muscles, as well as with your heart and lungs. Also, it is better done on the softer ground because you are putting too much stress on your joints. 

Interval running is beneficial to runners as it helps avoid injuries, it also burns calories faster and it definitely helps in overall performance.

Example: One-mile jogging followed by 10 x 400m  runs with light jogging or walking about 30-60 seconds the pace for the 400m run should be consistent.

5. Progression Run

Remember how veteran runners remind you not to start running too fast so you’ll be able to finish the race strong. This is what progression running is all about and doing this training will help improve your stamina and discipline in running especially in long-distance running like half marathons, marathons and ultra running.

The goal of a progression running workout is to start running at an easy pace that is comfortable for you and gradually increase your pace and run faster until the end. This is a great workout that involves aerobic and anaerobic thresholds.

For beginners you can start by running for 20 minutes at an easy pace followed by 20 minutes comfortably hard pace and 20 minutes hard effort pace then a cool down run.

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6. Hill Repeats

Another running workout that requires great effort in order to build speed and stamina is hill repeats. In order to achieve and realize its benefits, a runner must also include doing this training in his routine. 

Truth is running is never easy, the perspective that running becomes easy is because runners learn to adapt to the hard work and demands of this endurance sport. But once you become comfortable with hard effort and training it’s all worth it.

Hill repeats can vary for beginners. It is important that you have a solid base running before incorporating hill repeats. You can run hills at a normal pace also and it can still be hard then eventually run at a faster pace. While downhill try to slow down, jog or walk to recover.

Dynamic warm-up and jogging should be done first before doing hill repeats as well as a proper cool down to avoid injuries. You can practice hill repeats once a week and choose your ground.

7. Long Run

As the name implies it is a longer distance spent in the road, you have done your base running, incorporated tempo and intervals in your training long runs will develop your physical and mental toughness, discipline and endurance to last longer in the road.

Long runs can be done at your easy pace, the goal here is to increase your mileage and not about your speed. Although for some it is also possible to incorporate more speed or run faster once you are comfortable and confident with long-distance running.

The long-run is helpful especially in marathon and ultra running, here you can test your gears and hydration while you run.

The challenge here is to be able to learn patience and discipline therefore proper planning is important to consider. Running fast will get you exhausted easily and running too slow might get you bored. 

Tag a friend, choose a scenic view or listen to music to get you in. Once you are done with it you will know how strong you are accomplishing it.

8. Recovery Run

Now that you know the different types of running workouts, we still have another one and yes there is a recovery run which means running again to recover from your previous run especially after a hard race or training like a tempo run, intervals and hill repeats.

The execution is to run at an easy pace that is slow, this running workout is not about the pace but a short easy run to recover from your hard effort which can go from 3 to 5 miles or up to 45 minutes of running.

Recovery run helps to activate blood flow and loosen up tight muscles and helps improve it from muscle soreness. The key here is to run slower than your usual pace and as per experts, a recovery run is executed 24 hours after your hard training.

Add tools to your recovery like a foam roller or massage ball to get relief from tired muscles.

Final Running Words

Now that you know the different types of running workouts it is about time to plan and pick the workout for the week. With so many great benefits of performing running workouts your physical and mental toughness will surely be tested and developed.

The only cons of running workouts are if you start too soon or jump from one workout to another without proper training or resting it can lead to injury and feeling burnout.

Keep in mind that rest days, cross-training and strength training is also necessary and must be incorporated into your running workouts. The quality of food you take and sleep is also accountable for your success with your running goals.

Do you have a running story to share? How is your journey with running? Let me know through the comments or contact me and let’s collaborate!

Be sure to sign up with my email list and access the resource library and download your printable workout planner

Note: Before performing any running activity or training, make sure that you are fit for it. This article is for information only and does not replace any medical or expert advise.

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Published by therunningbaker24

A hobbyist by heart. A plantbased runner who enjoys dairy-free baking. I like to run and write on the sideline and recently discovered my fondness of baking and making guilt-free desserts. Just like running I get the same relaxing feeling when I bake.

23 thoughts on “Different Types Of Running Workouts (run faster, get stronger)

  1. I just started running yesterday. Today I have pain all over my body, I’m just looking for a good way of running for a begginer. Thanks for this article. It’s really helpful 👍😊

  2. Your post has motivated me to step up my running game. I’ve been running a few times a week in the morning with two friends. They are training for a race. I am not. But, maybe I should:). I haven’t done a race in over four years.

  3. This is really interesting. I have started running again and have found it difficult. I read in another blog that weak glutes lead to bad running form and results in sore calves and feet sores. Do you think that the running methods above would help or should you supplement with specific exercises?

    1. Hi Naomi, I would suggest if you are new to running try doing base running first until your body learns to adapt to running especially specific group of muscles. Running too fast without proper training, stretching and warm up will definitely result to sore muscles. With base running it will help you focus on your running form and breathing. Also it is important to take a rest after a hard running workout and yes cross training is also an integral part of running especially on days you are not running like swimming, cycling, and strength training.

  4. Fartleks are my favorite. They take the monotony and boredom out of a run. A variation on this that I like is a ladder run, where you gradual increase the time you are doing the speed part, reach a maximum, then work your way back down. I have a love-hate relationship with hill repeats. When I am running them… hate. Afterwards…. Love how it feels.

  5. I started running consistently about 3 months ago, but find it difficult to stay motivated. This blog post is awesome, because it gives me the opportunity to bring some variety in my runs in order to keep it exciting! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. This was really helpful for me, I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate running into my workout routine especially that my working hours have changed this year, thank you for this informative article!

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