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Planning Your Running Training Program? Consider Including These Workouts.

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

I was writing a program for one of my clients today. Then I realised that many people (runners included) don't know what really goes into an effective training program. Do you?

Running isn't just running. Not when you have a goal. Not when you want to run better, faster or injury-free. Here's a short list of the most common running workouts. Mix and match, and most of all, have fun with it! Your running program doesn't have to be boring!

Easy and Long Runs:

  • Standard Long Runs & Accelerating Long Runs - they should feel easy and make up the largest percentage of a training program.

Acidosis Threshold (AT) Workouts:

  • AT Run - steady pace at AT level

  • Long AT Run - slightly slower than AT run, best when preparing for long races (half-marathon, marathon); comfortably hard pace.

  • AT Intervals - short AT pace runs; help to increase the AT Run distance (do not run faster than AT pace!)

  • AT+ Intervals - for intermediate and advanced runners,

  • AT/LSD - e.g. 5-6k @AT pace; for intermediate and advanced runners; trains to pick up the pace after running a lot,

VO2max - it's like strength training for the heart; run at 95-100% max HR (9 out of 10 on RPE scale):

  • VO2max Reps (e.g. 800m reps)

  • VO2max Ladder - mixed distance/time (e.g. 800 / 1,000 / 1,200)

  • VO2max Cut-Down - decreasing the distance/time

  • VO2max Pyramid - increasing + decreasing intervals

Anaerobic Capacity (AC) Workouts - Pretty quick workouts that cause fatigue rapidly. AC Workouts & Aerobic Power Workouts are the true runner's speed work. Here more important than distance is the time spent running (45sec - 2min):

  • AC Ladder

  • AC Pyramid

Anaerobic Power Workouts - most distance runners won't spend much time training anaerobic power. It's more important for middle-distance, which require a lot of speed (e.g. 800 - 1,500m).

Hills - this type of workout is great for improving muscle power, increasing HR, adding variety and preparing for road races on hilly courses:

Fartlek - from Swedish "speed play", it's a type of interval workout with no structure. It allows you to play with the pace and distance, accelerating and decelerating whenever you feel like it.

Additional workouts like strength training (including stability and mobility), stretching or self-myofascial release (foam rolling) can be beneficial in improving overall running technique, as well as preventing injuries.

How many components should be included and when? That depends on your preferred distance and goal.

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