I’m a big proponent of the walk-run technique, however, there are lots of different workouts that can either be incorporated into the walk-run or not.
For starters, most of the runs you do should be at a conversational pace. We do this for the cardio-respiratory and muscular benefits to absorb oxygen and remove waste. At the cellular level, the conversational pace increases the quantity and quality of the mitochondria, which helps to process oxygen and store glycogen. It also adapts the body to the sustained stress of running and is a more efficient way to run. All long runs should be done at this pace. The majority of short and medium runs should be here too.
During these types of runs, you should be able to talk with a running partner, you should be able to sing, and should not be out of breath.
Strides are short bursts of swift running for 80 to 150 meters. They are often repeated in a workout to up to 10 strides. These teach your muscles to run faster and should be incorporated 2 – 3 days per week.
Tempo is also known as threshold. This is done at a swift, sustained pace, generally for 20 to 30 minutes or longer. These types of workouts will improve your lactate threshold and promote a more efficient running form.
One of my favorite workouts is a Fartlek workout. Fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish. These are mostly unstructured workouts. For example, you may be running around the neighborhood and you see a hill. You may want to run fast up the hill. Or, you may want to do repetitions like run 1 minute fast, 1 minute slow, etc. I used to do these on the Long Beach Boardwalk. I would go out easy and then I would run all out to a bench. It’s a fun workout that is great for strength and good for all types of runners.
Hill repeats are probably my least favorite workout, yet it’s important to incorporate them into your workout. Try to run up a hill and then walk or jog down. These types of workouts improve endurance and muscle stress. If you don’t have a hill, use a driveway as your hill. Repeat several times.
A long interval is anything longer than a 400-meter interval. You will go fast here. This is high-intensity training and may even bring you into the Anaerobic and VO2 max training zones. A workout may look like 6 x 400 meters or 4 x 800 meters. You may also use this as your Goal Pace for a race.
Short intervals are the same as long except they are much shorter. They may be more like 100 meters or 200-meter sprints followed by a recovery run.
What’s your favorite type of workout? Write it in the comments below. You may even win something!