When did running get so complicated?
I ask myself that all the time, usually when frustrated by a tough workout on my training plan or a confusing training concept.
Running is such a simple act — exactly what drew me to it in the first place — until you complicate it with drills, exercises, and complex workouts.
Of course, it probably comes as no surprise that the workouts on your training plan aren’t there to punish or frustrate you — they’re included to help you run stronger, faster, and for longer distances.
Plus, once you get to know them, they’re not so confusing, and can actually be a lot of fun.
So today I’m going to break down eight common running workouts, and share real-life examples I use with my coaching client. Plus, how they can fit within your week of training.
The Importance of Variety
Before we start wading through the details, let’s first talk about variety. More specifically, why variety in your training is so important.
There’s a little running phenomenon I like to call “Single Speed Running,” where a runner logs nearly all of his or her miles at the exact same effort. Day after day. That speed is usually around 75 percent of max effort — not fast enough to really make your body work hard and adapt, but too fast to build much endurance or count as a “recovery” run.
Not only does Single Speed Running keep you from getting stronger; it also significantly increases the risk of injury: our bodies need variety.
We need uber slow runs just as much as we need Lightning Bolt style sprints. The variety works the cardiovascular system and muscles in different ways, and makes room for both strength-building and recovery.
By understanding the importance of each workout, you’re more likely to begin incorporating a variety into your training, and in return, reaping the benefits.
But first, those workouts need to become less daunting and confusing … the goal of this post.
8 Common Running Workouts, Explained (With Examples)
Below you’ll find a description of eight common running workouts for endurance runners. With each explanation, I’ve also included examples for a variety of levels of how to put the workout to use.
Let’s start with the easiest: (more…)