According to the Road Runners Club of America, there are several types of runners and each runner should get an individualized training plan. Below each category, I include a “good workout.” Here are the different types of runners:
This runner runs between 0 to 15 miles per week; important to learn the conversational pace of running; once this runner runs 300 – 500 miles in a year, they are no longer a novice.
Good workouts: track, hills, tempo, low-intensity fartlek
This runner runs between 15 – and 25 miles per week. Their goal is to do a marathon or a 50K.
Good workouts: conversational pace running, run/walk, incorporate strides, make sure there are plenty of easy efforts!
This runner runs between 15 – and 40 miles per week. They are not experienced based on speed or ability but in terms of mileage completed. The goal is to do a road race, marathons, ultras, and try to PR every race.
Good workouts: strength workouts, long intervals with repeats, short intervals, cross-training
This runner runs between 20 and 40+ miles per week with lots of long runs. Their goal is to do a marathon, half-marathon, 50K.
Good workouts: Tempo workouts from 20 to 60 minutes, long intervals, incorporate marathon pace into the long runs, do long intervals.
Competitive Racers – all distances
This runner runs 30+ miles per week and focuses on the 5K, 10K, and half marathon. Many senior runners fit into this category.
Good workouts: Strength that includes tempo, fartlek and hills, long intervals, short intervals, core strength, and cross-training.
This runner ran a lot once but hasn’t run in a long time. Their goal is to lose weight, follow doctors’ recommendations, and relive their glory days. They are looking for motivation from a social running group.
Good workouts: stay with a group and work out by doing track, fartlek, and strides.
They love a variety of trails from urban parks to rural forests. The most important thing for this runner is to make sure they practice nutrition, and hydration and have the proper equipment to keep them going.
Good workout: fartlek workouts will help them gain surge ability on the trails. Make sure to also do cross-training and gentle activation exercises including stretching.
Ultra Marathon Runners
These are runners who love to go 50K, 50 miles, and/or 100 miles within 12 to 24 hours. Their most important challenge is to handle time on their feet.
Good workout: go for a long run on Saturday and Sundays. Long fartleks would work well here along with practicing night running. Also, practice on different types of roads and conditions.
Multi-sport Runners (like most of us, triathletes)
Many of us triathletes, run three days a week. We focus our activities on sprints, Olympics, half distance, and full distance courses.
Good workouts: short anaerobic-based speed sessions, tempo runs, and mid-range long runs.