Running seems to be a pretty straightforward sport where the runners use the exercise as a way to get fit or lose weight, join marathons, or both. However, there are different types of running that you can choose from—it depends on what you’re trying to achieve in running. Improved endurance, strength and speed are just some benefits you can gain from running regularly. Knowledge on the types or running can be advantageous in choosing what fits your needs depending on what you want to improve at.
There are eight types of running which varies in pace, intensity, and distance.
Easy or Recovery runs is the type of running done at a slow, more comfortable pace. This is usually done after long, intense, strenuous running to get rid of the muscle stiffness from long runs. Recovery runs are essential for runners intending to join competitions and marathons. Easy or recovery runs done after an intense training can also release the emotional, mental and physical stress of the training itself.
Most casual runners engage in base runs. A base run is the type of running at the runner’s natural speed or pace. Base runs meant to have moderate to long distances and should be done often. Regular base running is a great cardiovascular and aerobic exercise. It’s also great for enhancing muscle strength and endurance.
Threshold or tempo runs require running at the fastest pace you can and maintaining that pace for an hour. Threshold runs can be helpful in increasing the time you can uphold a certain pace or speed. Tempo runs can be very challenging but, when done right, can have amazing effects on the runner’s efficiency. It also has excellent benefits on the lungs as it improves aerobic capacity. According to Dr. Jack Daniels Ph. D., the author of one of the most popular training books for runners, “Daniels’ Running Formula”, there’s a type of tempo running known as cruise intervals. Cruise intervals require the runner to have a faster pace than a regular tempo run but allow short rests between intervals.
Long runs are just like base runs in the sense that the runner can maintain a natural pace. The difference is the distance that the runner has to cover. As the name suggests, long runs require greater distances than base runs. Long runs improve endurance. Another variation of long runs is progression runs, wherein the running speed is being increased as you go along.
Hill running can be done on inclined surfaces (even inclined treadmills) and can be very beneficial in increasing muscle strength. Also, running on steep areas is more challenging than running on flat surfaces; so if you try hill running and then switch back to regular running, you can feel the improvement in your muscle endurance and stamina. Running on hills also burns calories than running on flat areas.
Fartlek training originated from Sweden in the 1930’s; the word fartlek means ‘speed play’. Fartlek calls for running at different speeds at short periods of time. It means being able to quickly switch to different paces on one long run. You may start running on faster speed then change to slower speed. Being able to alternate speeds during running is the key to fartlek training.
Whether or not you’re planning to join marathons or striving to be a professional athlete someday, it’s always good to know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Choosing the right type of running that fits you should also depend on what your body can handle. Trying different types of running one at a time can also help you in selecting which one works best for you—or you can include them all in your fitness regimen, just make sure that you’re not pushing yourself too hard.