There are various types of run, and each presents a different set of challenges and benefits. Here, we cover seven different types of run you can use to mix up your training plan and how they will benefit you.
These runs will make up the majority of your training plan and show be run at an easy pace - you should be able to hold a conversation on a base run. The main aim is simply to build up your weekly mileage and get your body use to running frequently.
This is probably the most important run in a marathon training plan and should take place once a week, gradually building in distance. Like the base run, it will be taken an an easy, steady pace. The aim of the Long Run is to gradually increase your endurance.
Progression runs begin at a steady pace and gradually build in speed towards the end. Ideally, this is the way you should aim to run on race day, finishing the race faster than you started (although this isn't easy!). This style of running is a great way to learn how to pace your runs effectively.
Hill runs are shorter runs and are great for endurance. Find a hill which takes 2-3 minutes to climb with a good amount of effort. Run up the hill 5-6 times with a long recovery time walking back down the hill of at least 3 minutes. It takes extra effort to run up hill so you don't need to run as fast as you would on flat ground. Whilst running uphill, be sure to remain in control of your breathing and your posture.
Interval runs are a series of short, fast runs followed by a slow jog or walk to recover. For example, you could run fast for 4 minutes, walk for 2, and repeat 3 times - you can mix up the intervals as you wish. Interval sessions are a great way to increase your aerobic capacity and also help to keep your training plan interesting. Many runners also see an improvement in their speed over long distances once they start interval training.
Like interval runs, Fartlek training is a mixture of speed work and easy-paced running to recover. The difference is that Fartlek is less structured - the aim is for you to play with your speed and challenge yourself. For example, whilst running you might decide to sprint to the next lamppost before back slowing down.
Tempo runs are speed runs where you keep a constant pace, faster than a base run but slower than your fast sections during an interval session - sometimes described as 'comfortably hard'.