Every time you go out for a run there should be a purpose for that run. If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. When putting together a block of training, typically a week you should have at least 1 long run, fartlek session, repeats session and recovery run each week.
Different sessions include:
Long Runs: Tend to be at the weekend (when you aren’t racing). Typically, for us, this is the Sunday morning run from Thurstaston car park and the definition of long depends on the individual. Could be 8 miles or perhaps a 20 miler if training for a marathon. Even longer for some. Generally run at a pace that you can maintain a conversation.
Tempo / Threshold Training: A longer sustained effort run. Should be comfortably hard. Hard but under control. Breathing should be more intense but not laboured – you should be able to say one or two short sentences of, say, 10 words at the end of which would be the need to breathe harder.
Sprints: pure sprint training enables distance runners to recruit fast twitch muscle fibres that are often neglected and, once mobilised, can be useful to fall back on when your normal slow twitch fibres become fatigued. Sprinting also helps shape good running form.
Interval / Repeat Training: Essentially running hard segments (often on a hill in my training sessions) with recovery periods. In interval training (e.g. Kenyan Hills or 5×5) the training adaptation takes place in the active recovery phase. In repeat training (School hills or Essex Efforts) the training adaptation takes place in the hills (efforts) – although technically all adaptation takes place in the post run recovery period).
Recovery Runs: Easy run of 2, 3 or 4 miles BUT DON’T JOG. You should feel better at the end of the run than before.
Fartlek: Swedish for ‘speedplay’. This is informal repeat training. Unstructured running at different paces, fast and easy. Run fast sprints when you like at different distances with varying recovery periods in between. Get your body used to speed. Could be easily incorporated into a Friday night.