It is important to incorporate different types of training into your runs to make you a stronger, faster runner. If you always run on the flat, try doing some hills. If you always run the same place, throw in some faster workouts. If you always run the same distance, try making some runs shorter and some longer. Here are five different types of training to mix in with your regular running routine:
- Intervals. Interval workouts involve sprinting for short distances during your run. These help you learn to run faster. The simplest way to run intervals is to time yourself. Sprint for 30 seconds and run a slower pace for 3 minutes. Then repeat.
- Hills. Hills are hard, so we tend to avoid them. But running hills strengthens the muscles you use for sprinting, so it makes you faster. It also increases your endurance. So find some hills, and try running them once a week.
- Long Runs. Every couple of weeks, go about 50% farther than your normal running distance (but make sure to follow the 10% rule if you are increasing mileage). Run at your normal pace or slower. Long runs will increase your muscle endurance.
- Tempo Runs. These runs involve running at a faster-than-normal pace for a sustained period of time. These are shorter than your normal runs and are designed to push your physical threshold and increase your speed.
- Strength Training. Although this isn’t technically part of a run, strength training is important for runners to incorporate into their training regimens. Strength training facilitates bone health and prevents injury, and it prepares your body for the rigors of racing. You want to make sure that your core, knee, hip, and leg muscles are strong enough to keep your body properly positioned during your run. So don’t avoid weight lifting and other strength training exercises.
Trying varied running routines will make you a stronger and faster runner, so don’t be afraid to try new ways of training. Just remember to listen to your body and don’t push it if you are in pain.