For trail runners or road runners, to include some basic runs in your training schedule will help increase both your performance and motivation. Following the same type of runs day after day will not help to increase your running performance, well-balanced fitness and strength. Yes, running the same runs is still better than not running, and you can still enjoy your runs, but by adding a variety can make running more fun, increase your stamina and avoid injuries. For trail runners, to add some road runs in your regular training plan will make trail runs easier, more balanced. To increase your speed and VO2 max can provide many benefits in running on different terrain, road, uphill, or downhill. To add a variety, also helps to train our brain to feel comfortable in different types of runs and increasing our stamina and strength.
Why should we add some basic training runs?
- To prevent boredom that come from repeating the same type of run over and over again.
- To prevent reaching a plateau in our running performance, and see many benefits physically and mentally.
There are six essential runs that runners need to add if you want to contribute to your running growth. Each type of run has a unique set of qualities and benefits. These essential runs can benefit young runners, beginners, veterans, men, women, as long as you make sure to listen to your body and remain within your fitness skill, to make sure you don’t overtrain, you will see all the benefits.
Essential Training Runs
- Tempo Run
Tempo runs consist of running at a challenging, but controlled pace for a run lasting 30-60 minutes. Tempo runs have some great benefits, it can increase anaerobic threshold levels, when the body produces lactic acid faster than it can clear, switching from aerobic to anaerobic.
Tempo pace: The ideal tempo pace is a comfortable hard pace that can be maintained for a prolonged period. A tempo pace is hard enough, when you need to push harder, but not too challenging so you can sustain the tempo pace, and not make your body crash. Tempo pace for most runners is about 80-90% of max effort, a bit slower than a 10K pace.
Tempo session: Start with a 15-20 mins warm up run, increase your speed to a level you can sustain the pace for 15-30 mins, depending on your training goals and schedule. Then finish with a 5-10mins easy recovery jog.
- Interval Run
Interval training involves running or sprinting for a set distance or timing, repeated a number of fixed times at the same pace. The distance can be between 100m-1k. Every sprint is followed by a recovery jog or walk. Interval training runs can help increase endurance, improve your cadence and stride and strengthen fast-twitch muscles. Interval training also trains our brain to get more comfortable in a much faster pace.
Interval pace: The sprinting pace depends on the distance of the interval, the shorter the sprint distance the harder you push. A high-intensity sprint should be between 90-98% max effort. If you can keep a conversation going, you’re running too slow.
Interval session: Start with a 15-20 mins warm up run, perform 5-8 400m repeats with 2-3 mins to recover between each sprint. Finish with a 10min recovery jog. Or you can do 5-10 100m or 200m repeats with 1-2 min recovery jog in between. For 1K sprint repeats, perform 3-4 repeats at a more 90% max effort with 500m recovery jog in between.
- Farklet Run
Farklet is Swedish for “speed play”, Farklet sessions are very popular, fun and motivating. This speed session involves finding your running pace without a specific plan or goal. It includes mixing fast running intervals with low to moderate efforts while changing the distance, duration and speed of each interval. Farklet sessions are more fun and creative.
Farklet pace: The intensity and distance of each interval depends on your preference, terrain, fixture, you can mix them up as you like throughout the session. You can sprint or run at a tempo pace depending on the distance to reach your object or fixture.
Farklet session: Start with a 10 mins warm up run, then pick an object or fixture in the distance (a house, light fixture, road junction, a sign, or any object you can aim for), then run as fast as possible. Then slow down and recover by jogging slowly to your next fixture. Then start again by sprinting to your next aimed object, repeat for at least 20-30mins. Finish with a 10min recovery run.
- Hill Repeats
Hill training are short or long burst of intense effort uphill repeats. Doing some hill repeats training sessions can add some great endurance and strength workouts, which will help you run with more efficient stride, and make high elevation climbing on the trail much easier. Uphill training builds up strength and power, which will help to improve your speed and running economy. It also improves aerobic power, pain tolerance and fatigue resistance. Running downhill in the hill repeats, helps to strengthen the quads, glutes and help to increase the strength and endurance in our joints and tendons.
Hill repeats pace: Hill repeats should be a fast pace hard to sustain near the top. Focus on short fast strides, and push as fast as you can while keeping a good running form. Use your arms swing strength and core to help pull your body up on the uphill.
Hill repeats session: Find a hill that you can run up in 30-60secs in a fast pace. Start with a 10-15min warm up run, perform 5-10 hill repeats, depending on the distance. Run downhill slowly between each hill repeats to recover. Finish with a 5-10 min recovery run.
- Long Run
Long runs are the base for endurance training. For most runners, long runs are the most important session of the week, they can build endurance, improve form and increase lung power. Your weekly long run should be according to your weekly running distance. The recommendation is to include a long run that is 30% of your weekly running distance. For example, if you run 50K/weekly, your long run should be minimum 15K.
Long run pace: Running long-distance is very important to keep a slower and stable pace, 65-75% max effort. Focus on keeping your heart rate at a lower level. To run at a pace that is too high during long runs can cause some higher risk of injuries, excessive fatigue, and burnouts.
Long run session: Start with a 10 mins warm up run, then run the rest of your distance at a comfortable pace, so that at the end of the run you feel a bit tired but not exhausted.
- Recovery Run
Recovery runs are shorter distance runs at an easy pace. During a recovery run, follow your fitness level, training goals and schedule, this run should be the easiest run of the week. Recovery runs help build proper form, increase endurance and build up distance. Recovery runs should be done after a high-intensity session or a long-distance run.
Recovery run pace: If you can keep a conversation going and feel an easy breathing while you run, that is a comfortable pace.
Recovery run session: Start with a 5-10min warm up, then run at a comfortable pace. A recovery run can last 5K-8K.
These basic training runs can have so much benefits for both road and trail runners. As a trail runner, you can add some of these training runs into your weekly plan and create a variety in your training plan.