Have you ever purchased a fitness magazine and found yourself completely lost with the terms used for all the different types of runs? Me too! I thought I’d share the definition with you here and explain what is actually meant.
Long Runs: it’s an important element of training, but one that is easy to get obsessed with. I know that I focus on long runs in my training more than anything else, but this doesn’t always help my pace. At first it is key to just concentrate on increasing the time you spend on your feet rather than worrying about the pace or distance. Long runs are great when as they help to improve muscular endurance, running efficiency and your ability to burn fat as its primary fuel source. But, it’s not the only way to train for the London Marathon and you’ll ruin your body if you do a long run every day of the week.
Threshold Runs: At first I had no idea what this meant, and then it came to me… they are all about running at speed to help increase your endurance. Threshold sessions, in my opinion, are valuable workouts but they do require some effort. They require concentration and minimal conversation so it might be better to do this one on your own.
Kenyan Hills: A real killer! Kenyan Hill Runs do help to develop strength in your leg muscles, but they are incredibly difficult to do. Find a hill and run to the top of it then turn immediately at the top and roll down the hill at a relaxed pace, then turn and repeat without any recovery. You should only do them for a short period of time. I find it difficult to motivate myself to do this so I think it’s better to get a friend to join you on this one for morale support.
Fartlek: This is a Swedish term that literally means “speed play”. It involves a number of bursts of effort over a variety of distances with a variable recovery. Originally the length of effort was based on the terrain, for example, pushing harder every time you came to a climb, no matter how long it was. But you can adapt it for your needs; I often do it between street lamps in my local area. This is a great way of introducing some faster work into your training.
Interval Training: I haven’t built myself up to an interval run yet but it is something that I am planning to do in the next few weeks. Interval training allows you to practice specific race pace speed and involves running timed efforts with a controlled timed recovery. It is a very difficult one to do as you have to force yourself to build up the momentum that you would on the race day. I am planning to cheat with this one slightly by doing a few organised 10K runs as I find it easier to run at a steady speed for a long time in a race environment.
Recovery Run: Training for endurance requires your body to work hard but to see improvement, this has to be done without getting ill or injured. It is vital that a few easy runs are added into the mix. It should take no longer than 45 minutes and you should be able to talk throughout the whole thing – if you want too!
Cross-Training: My knees are really beginning to feel the amount of training that I am doing. A good cross-training session can help with body condition without hurting joints as much as running does. Remember that you are a runner and your cross-training should complement your running and not be so intense that you are left too tired for your running sessions.
Rest: This is a serious term when it comes to training! To help your body cope with the workload, rest is going to be as important a part of any training schedule. Listen to your body and take heed of any warning signs. If you feel fatigued even before you’ve run a step, find yourself thinking up excuses not to run or start suffering a series of minor injuries, you probably need more time off.