Types Of Runs For Distance Runners

By Physiotherapist, Paulina Backiel


Are you interested in changing up your running routine? Perhaps you are training and are looking to add more challenging types of runs into your routine. Here, Paulina is going over all of the different types of runs that you can do as a distance to runner to improve your speed, cadence, and stamina. 


Tempo run
A sustained effort run, running at a higher pace than casula running pace over a given distance or time period.
Ex. 10km at sustained 4’30min/km pace


Defined in Swedish for “speed play”
This type of run can vary in distance, playing with quick and slow speeds throughout the run. These runs are usually based on set time intervals rather than distance and utilizing intensity zones.
Ex. 2x3mins at 60% effort, 4x1min at 70-80% effort, 6x30sec at 85-90% effort, rest between each effort


Intervals/speed sessions
Also called repetitions, usually a certain distance repeated a number of times.
-Passive recovery = sedentary recovery is considered rest
-Active recovery = walking between each interval is considered rest
Ex. 5x400m, active recovery between intervals (30s walk)
Ex. 6x800m, passive


Usually repetitions done on a specific hill or choice, however you can also change it up and do a hilly distance course.
Ex. Hill repetitions: 60m hill x5 with 20s rest between
Ex. Hilly run: 6km with 300m elevation


AT (Anerobic Threshold) run
Running at a hard pace (83-87% MHR) continuously until you start to decline in power/speed due to lactic acid buildup in your muscles preventing you from maintaining that power/speed.
-Anerobic threshold = 83-87% max heart rate (MHR)
-Max heart rate = 220 – Age
Ex running 25mins at 10km pace


Long run
An easy run that is the longest run of the week to improve endurance levels, and bodies ability to adapt to sustained energy effort. A long run is dependent on the athlete and their training. Ex half marathon runner’s long run may be 18-20km.


Mid-week long run
-50-60% distance of long run
Additional long run


Absorption/Recovery Run
An easy short run in the week for the body to absorb the training loads and recover from any hard sessions during the week. These are essential for all runners because recovery is important to decrease injury risk and aid in physiological changes running causes on the body.
Ex. 7km slow run (usually a pace of ~1km/min slower than your average pace)


Progressive Run
Just like in the name, in a Progressive run you start at a slower pace then progress to a higher speed slowly in a short or long run.
Ex.5km progressive: (progress 10 sec less every km) 1km – 7’10, 2km – 7’00, 3km – 6’50, 4km – 6’40, 5km – 6’30


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Your physio,