The internet is great isn't it. Not only does it allow you to order Flapjacks and have them arrive at your door the next day, it also has tonnes upon tonnes of running training plans and plenty of them free - including the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k training plans we've just released!
If you are still new to this running malarkey then some of the different types of running sessions in some training plans can leave you a little lost.
Don't worry though, our training plans contain explanations for all the sessions they include and in case you want more information on the different types of training run you can do, we've got you covered with our handy guide to the different types of runs and how to incorporate them.
Steady State Runs
This is your standard going for a run run. You pick a distance or time and run till you finish. Keeping your pace pretty constant from beginning to end.
This is what every none runner thinks running training is. And they aren't too far wrong really, for many runners steady state runs do or at least should make up the vast majority of their training.
Depending on the purpose and distance of the session, your pace might vary from run to to run but you should always be able to hold a conversation throughout.
How to incorporate a Steady State Run
This couldn't be easier set off at a gentle pace and slowly build up your speed until you are at your pace for the run.
Pros of Steady State Runs: Builds an aerobic base, allows you refine your running strategy and gain time on your feet.
This is your chance to move fast, often very fast. Intervals are short, sharp bursts of movement, then a slightly longer rest period, often repeated multiple times.
You can either measure your intervals in distance (eg. 400m), time (eg. 1 minute) or more roughly (eg. run to the top of that hill).
The rest period can either be a complete rest (stood getting your breath back) or active recovery (walking or jogging slowly).
Intervals don't have to limited to flat ground with hills or steps being great options. They don't even have to just be limited to running, you can do them with strength and conditioning movements too like burpees.
How to incorporate Intervals
Five minute easy warm up.
Run 500m hard. You shouldn't be able to talk or think about much other than stopping.
Jog at a super easy pace for 1km. This needs to be a pace where you can easily talk and get your breath back at the same time.
Repeat for 5 intervals.
Five minutes easy jogging to cool down.
Pros of Interval Training: Great for improving speed, building confidence and fat loss.
Defining a Fartlek session can be a little tricky as it literally comes from the Swedish for "speed play" and that's exactly how you should approach these sessions - as play.
Unlike the other types of training in this list Fartlek is all about being unstructured on your run and switching freely between moderate and hard bursts with gentle running scattered throughout.
While doing a Fartlek session on your own is still great fun but it's nothing compared with group or partner sessions. Where you can challenge your partner to random races at will. Just embrace your inner child - "Last one to the lamp post is a rotten egg".
How to incorporate Fartlek Training
An easy five minute warm up, including a few short 'sprints' at 60%.
After this play around with your speed. If you feel fresh pick a random tree/lamp post and run fast till you reach it.
If you feel a little tired pick another object and run slowly towards it.
The key is to keep the whole session unplanned and free, run fast when you can and go easy when you want.
Pros of Fartlek Training: The biggest benefit is that it can put some fun back into your training, while also allowing you to develop your pace "through all the gears"
Sometimes called threshold runs, tempo runs are simply a a run where you are just outside your comfort zone. You should be able to hear yourself breathing hard but not be gasping for air on the pavement.
It's difficult to give an accurate pace for Tempo Runs as so many things can affect your speed from temperature to terrain.
Instead find your threshold by trying to talk. If you can chat away easily, you’re not in the tempo sweet spot yet. Alternatively if you are unable to talk at all, you’re going to hard. You should be able to talk in broken sentences the whole time.
For those of you running solo, try sing a few lines of a song or count to ten - you will still look a little out there but marginally better than talking to yourself.
How to incorporate Tempo Training
An easy five minute warm up, slowly ramping your pace up.
A twenty minute run in the Tempo Zone
An easy five minute cool down jog, slowly bringing your speed down.
Pros of Tempo Runs: Great for both practising near race pace and building your lactate threshold (this is a good thing).