Easy Run: These light runs are best done at a conversational pace. Meaning, if you can’t run and recap last night’s episode of “The Bachelor” at the same time, you’re going too fast!
LSD: Excuse me?! No, not that LSD. In this case, the acronym stands for long slow distance, or the week’s longest run. The only kind of trippin’ runners might be doing out on the road is over their own shoelaces.
Recovery Run: Also lovingly referred to as “junk miles,” a recovery run is a short, slow run that takes place within a day after a long, harder run. This teaches the body how to work through a fatigued state - a dress rehearsal many runners will be thankful for at mile 19 of a marathon!
Speedwork: Aimed at improving running speed, these types of workouts can include intervals, hill repeats, and tempo runs (all explained below). In addition to getting faster and increasing endurance, speedwork, well, usually hurts a lot, too!
Hill Repeats: Runners make like Jack and Jill and go up the hill (again and again) in this other cruel form of speedwork. Heading up at a 5K pace and recovering down at an easy jog or walk, the number of hill repeats per workout depends on experience and fitness levels. But the benefits from the pain? Speed, strength, and confidence!
Fartleks: A fartlek not only makes us giggle, it’s an easier form of speedwork for beginners. Meaning “speed play” in Swedish, fartleks are easy runs broken up by quick sprinting bursts. When changing speed though, the runner calls the shots (unlike more rigid intervals). So newbies can make it as fast and as hard as they can handle. That’s what she said.
Tempo Run: Usually done just once a week, tempo runs are a tougher form of speed training. Runners challenge themselves to hold a “threshold” (or comfortably hard) pace for a 20-minute period during a run - along with a good warm-up and cool down, of course.
Strength Training: Runners need muscles, too! Among its many other benefits, strength training, or exercises performed with or without weights (think push-ups, squats, and planks), helps runners become stronger and prevent injuries. Their bodies take quite a beating while hammering it out on the road, so they need all the help they can get.
Cross-training: Runners should also squeeze in time for cross-training, or sports and exercises other than running that improve overall fitness and strength. Great examples of cross-training for runners include cycling, swimming, yoga, water running, and weight training.
Rest Day: Choosing the couch over the road at least one day a week allows a runner’s body to recover and repair muscles. We say rest days can still be all about marathons though - a “Friday Night Lights” marathon, perhaps?