As mentioned before, there are a few basic types of runs included
in most successful programs.
These are designed to improve your endurance and are the most
important aspect of your training. You should start out at
a very relaxed effort to warm up properly for 2 miles
and gradually settle into a relaxed pace that allows you to carry
on a conversation.
At this effort, your body
will best be able to make the physiological adaptations to improve
your endurance. Any faster and you will sacrifice building
your endurance for building speed. Since research has shown that
to run the marathon involves 98% endurance and 2% speed, building
speed will do you very little when it comes to the Second
half of the marathon. For long runs, it is important not
to mix speed with endurance (Only level HI schedules will call
for the last few miles of some of your long runs to be run at
goal pace). Make it a priority to drink plenty of fluids the
day before, the day of, and the day after long runs to reduce
the amount of dehydration that will occur. Be sure to gently
stretch after the run, but plan to stretch more assertively the
next day to help flush out the tightness.
These are designed to complement the weekend long run in improving
your endurance. They should be run at the same effort as long
runs. If your target race is a hilly one, you may want to find
hills for this run.
These are primarily designed to improve your ability to handle
the hills as well as to increase overall leg strength to make
the flat parts easier to handle. They are also considered speed
work in disguise since hills can raise your heart rate to the
level achieved during a fast workout. First timers should run
them at the same effort as long and semi-long runs. The only
difference is to make sure that the course is a hilly one. Be
sure to catch your breath fully in between the hills.
These are designed to allow your body to recover from the
above runs while adding to your base mileage. As such, they are
as important as the long runs in helping your body properly adapt
to the higher mileage. Since their purpose is to help you recover
more completely, you should start out at an extremely relaxed
effort and gradually settle into a very relaxed effort. Typically
they are run 1 minute-per-mile more slowly than your long runs.
At this effort, your body is on automatic pilot and can more
effectively circulate out the toxins (the natural waste products
of muscle cell contractions) from your legs. Any faster and you
will actually accumulate more toxins in the body. Most runners
don't run slowly enough on their recovery days and end up injured
or overtrained sooner or later since their bodies are not given
the chance to recover enough. It is also important to run on
the softest and flattest surface you can find to lessen the pounding
on your body. The outside lanes of a high school track or dirt
or asphalt creek trails are good options. If this isn't feasible,
simply walk up and down steep or long uphills and downhills during
your recovery run. Afterwards, stretch assertively for at least
10-15 minutes to improve your flexibility and squeeze out any
Please Note: Fast workouts such as Goal Pace Runs, Long Fast
Runs, and Short Fast Runs will be covered in the Level III section.