Running is not just putting one foot in front of the other; it can be practiced in different ways to improve different physical characteristics.
Types of training such as base run, long run, recovery run, progressive and intervals work on endurance, speed and recovery.
Variations in training help fight boredom and promote the development of various physical skills such as endurance and speed.
Whenever you train you can run, or jog. Does it seem to you that there is no difference between the two activities? In fact, at least said so, it seems to be the same thing. In reality, however, “running” does not just mean putting one foot in front of the other doing it faster than if you were walking.
You can run in different ways, at different speeds, with different settings. Not to be bored perhaps? Also. But mostly because each type of running helps to define different details of your body. In short, there is a difference between always running at the same speed and running by varying it. Just as there is a difference between always pushing your limits or carefully staying below them.
In short, imagine that you are faced with a somewhat peculiar menu: instead of choosing what to eat, you choose what kind of workout to do. Of course, you don’t do this out of laziness but because each type of training corresponds to improving a particular characteristic of your running: from endurance (and thus distance) to speed. Let’s take a look at all the items with this in mind.
Basic (or light) run
As its name implies, it is running that is practiced without much regard for time. You generally practice it by setting a distance to cover and then setting off, not looking at your watch or calculating your speed. The goal is to run and build the foundation of the resistance.
Its simplicity should not mislead: in truth, it is used to build the ground of endurance, as well as to take care of the run setting so that it is as efficient as possible.
Have you ever played the piano or an instrument? When tackling a new score, any musician starts by performing it slowly so that he or she understands and memorizes the gestures he or she has to make. Basic running is a bit like that: you don’t run it too fast but focus mainly on the athletic gesture.
How to practice: at moderate speed and over any distance.
The Long run
In addition to being one of our two podcasts, the long run is essential training for two reasons. As the name implies, it is a workout that is practiced over longer distances than usual, usually once a week (particular and famous is “the final long run,” which is the last workout that precedes the race, usually the marathon, and has a mileage that is close to 70-80% of that of the race).
Why is it important? As I mentioned earlier, for at least two reasons: because it trains the body to endure prolonged exertion over time, and especially because it accustoms the mind to endure it.
Unlike the light one, in fact, it also serves to train the mind, which is less important in the light one, not intervening except to a limited extent in overall strength.
How it is done: at a similar but slower speed than the race speed (if it precedes it) or relaxed. Distance: 70-80% of that of the race in preparation or otherwise higher (even significantly) than usual.
It is a workout that is practiced after strenuous workloads and should be based on gentle, relaxed rhythms, thus at lower than usual speeds and also over shorter distances.
Since it follows heavy workouts, it is practiced with sore muscles from which no further effort can be asked.
What exactly is it used for, however? To accustom the body to endure even general soreness and thus raise the threshold of endurance of exertion.
How to practice: at very moderate speed and over short distances.
Progression run and interval training
This is a workout-usually practiced in the second half of the running session-that consists of precisely progressively increasing speed along certain distances. There are different types of this type of training, but each has only one purpose: to get the body used to pushing itself a little further in terms of speed, immediately increasing the heart rate to the point of raising the threshold of effort endurance.
Similar applies to intervals, which are practiced over specific distances (60-100 or more meters) and accelerating, then returning to normal speed.
In short, the change in rhythm is intended to put the physique in a position to withstand an accelerated heart rate, even if the purpose is to raise the threshold of endurance of exertion.
How it is practiced: at increasingly accelerated speeds and for limited periods of time and over defined distances. To be repeated according to the coach’s schedule or by feel, in the case of fartlek.
It is a workout aimed at making better use of the oxygen in your muscles (aerobic phase), so as to delay the production of lactate, which your body cannot dispose of in a short time, causing you fatigue. In other words, it serves to raise the threshold above which lactate is produced (also responsible for muscle cramps), which not only causes discomfort but also makes you feel the fatigue of running.
How to practice: it is a workout to be performed on the lactacid threshold. How do you find it empirically? Read below ;)
Intervals are specific work sessions done at a sustained speed for specific periods of time, to be repeated a certain number of times. The purpose is to raise effort endurance while also developing speed. The more you repeat sessions at a higher speed than normal training, the more you raise your threshold of endurance to exertion, also simultaneously increasing your overall speed.
In any case, again you will find an in-depth discussion below:
If working out the same way all the time bores you, try incorporating specific sessions into your weekly schedule that are perceived as healthy variation.
However, the trigger that needs to go off in your mind is not only to fight boredom but especially to work on certain characteristics, such as speed or distance and corresponding endurance skills. To speed (increasing it) and distance (always increasing it).
And now order the training you want, or rather: practice it!