This article is taken from the TriChicks webinar, Running: Method behind the madness. To watch the full webinar or any others in the series, head over to the TriChicks Hub.
The best way to get your body to change is by forcing it into an adaptation response. Basically, it will only change if you change something. You need to challenge your body and incorporate a variation of running types into your training. Having said that let’s look at the different running types you should be incorporating into your run training.
Fartlek / Intervals or ‘speed-play’ by time or distance is aimed at building speed-endurance (the ability to prolong the amount of time where a near maximal speed can be maintained). These can be done in a few different ways including Mona’s Fartlek, simple 60/60 or pyramids. This is great for new runners or those returning from injury to get both speed and endurance back on the legs, plus you can have a static or walking ‘rest’ section. It’s also great for experienced runners to build their speed endurance.
Tempo A tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold, LT, or threshold run. Tempo pace is often described as “comfortably hard”, you should be learning to run at a pace that is hard but that you can maintain. This type of run helps to improve metabolic fitness and helps get us used to “finding comfort in our discomfort”, as well as maintaining an even pace. Your tempo pace will increase over time as you get fitter, when the pace you’re running at starts to feel easy, increase your tempo pace – it should always feel hard.
Hills Hill running improves your strength and power which then improves our ability to be stronger on the flat (or on the hills if this is a specific goal). It uses different muscle groups and assists with balance. You must employ correct technique uphill and downhill to avoid injury and get the full benefits – remember your eye focus, knee drive and lift, cadence, body angle from ankle, arm swing, arm angle relative to the gradient, confidence and maintaining your foot/ankle/knee/hip stability.
Speed Sessions This means time or distance work usually with static rests and repetitions of the same distance. For example this could be 8 -10 x 400m, 12 x 200m, 5 x 800m, 6 x 600m, 10 x 300m etc. The total ‘working’ part of the session should be approximately 20-25 minutes in duration but is dependent on the recovery. These sessions are useful for building power and speed, utilising anaerobic lactate functions and technique. It’s also easy to track your improvement with these sessions.
Long Run These are fairly self-explanatory, they are the long (and longest run) you’ll do. The distance/duration depends on what your goals are. It’s important to remember these will be different for each individual. Don’t log weekly kms (junk miles) for the sake of counting kms! These must still be quality sessions with a purpose. They can be run to heart rate, perceived rate of exertion, specific pace, acceleration or even with some tempo pace thrown in etc to keep them interesting. Enjoy your long run because it can be long! Use the 10% rule, don’t over progress every week, take light weeks and take time to build your strength.
Absorption Runs Think of these as recovery runs. A true recovery day should not be hard in the slightest. You should be training at a pace where you can breathe easily and can maintain a short conversation. Despite how good you might feel when running easy, you should not push the pace on a recovery day otherwise, you are defeating the purpose of this run.
If you are unsure about when and where to include these types of training sessions into your program hire a coach or follow a prescribed program, this will ensure you are getting the right volume and intensity in your program, at the right time, with the right recovery in between key sessions. Doing too much too soon, is a fast track to injury and burnout. We have a number of training programs available in the TriChicks Hub, you can find out more here:
Hopefully, that puts some sense into those crazy runs your coach makes you do. Understanding the purpose of each session is important for you to understand the bigger picture of your running training — happy running!
TriChicks offers a range of training programs on the TriChicks Hub. From beginner to Ironman, each program has been specifically designed to get you smiling across the finish line with the help of our incredible team. To learn more about the Hub and to get started on your triathlon journey, visit our Membership page HERE.