Types of running workouts

Every running training plan seems to use different names for types of running workouts so here’s a little glossary.

  • Tempo run
    • What: Usually 20-30ish minutes hard; pace as close to anaerobic threshold as possible
    • Why: lactic acid tolerance
    • Also called: “Fast run
  • Steady state
    • What: Same thing as a tempo run but slightly slower/less intense
    • Why: lactic acid tolerance
  • Easy run
    • What: short to medium distance at a comfortable pace
    • Why: aerobic capacity and endurance
    • Also called: “Base run
  • Long run
    • What: long distance at a comfortable pace
    • Why: endurance and mental confidence
  • Recovery run
    • What: easy run but even easier/slower
    • Why: add volume without compromising recovery
  • Intervals
    • What: go hard for X distance, jog or walk for Y distance, repeat
    • Why: speed and efficiency
    • Also called: “Speed work
  • Fartleks
    • What: Swedish for “speed play” – intervals with a looser structure, often time based rather than distance based
    • Why: speed and efficiency
  • Hill repeats
    • What: a type of intervals; sprint up a hill, jog back down it, repeat
    • Why: strength and power

Related: No, running does not wear out your joints

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