Running Terms for Newbie Runners – Types of Runs

28 Mar

It’s that time again! Time for Round 2 of Running Terms for Newbie Runners! (Click here for Running Terms for Newbie Runners, I). As I have mentioned before, when I was a newbie runner, I tried to soak up as much as I could about the running world. There is so much information out there and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. I hope this helps break it down a little bit for you.

Every good running program should be comprised of at least 3 runs per week. This includes fartleks (Swedish for “speed play”), a tempo run, and a long run.

A tempo run (also called a lactate-threshold run) is run at a pace that is considered “steady effort” but not as fast as a 10k race pace. Tempo runs help develop your anaerobic (lactate) threshold, which is necessary for increasing your speed. Tempo runs teach your body to clear out the lactate build-up in your muscles more quickly and efficiently, thus preventing muscle fatigue. To do a tempo run, you will want to do 5 to 10 minutes of slower, warm-up running. Next, continue running for 15 to 20 minutes at about 10 seconds slower than your 10k pace. Finish this run workout with 5 to 10 minutes of cool down. A general guideline for pacing yourself (if you do not want to go by time) is to go by your breathing. For tempo runs, you should be making two footfalls while on the inhale and one footfall on the exhale. If you are breathing faster than that, slow down a little.

That looks like a LONG run!

If you are training for a half marathon or full marathon, long runs will need to become your friend. A long run is your once-a-week chance to push yourself for distance. Typically, long runs are done on a weekend, and usually on the same day of the week that your race falls on. The distance covered by your weekly long run will be dictated by your training plan. Your long runs should be run over 1 minutes per mile slower than your goal race pace for three-quarters the total long run distance. In the last one-quarter of your run, increase your effort/pace to match that of your goal race pace.

In addition to these 3 critical runs per week, there are other types of runs you can incorporate…

An “easy run” is exactly what it sounds like…an easy run. An easy run is intended to be run at a pace which can be maintained for a substantial amount of time, without much effort. A good “litmus test” for the right pace for you would be the ability to hold a conversation while running. If you are huffing and puffing on your route, you are moving too fast on your easy run. A general guideline for pace would be to add 20 to 30 seconds to your goal race pace.

YASSO 800s
Yasso 800 workouts can help you predict your marathon time by running distances of 800 meters. Yasso 800 workouts follow a simple formula…run 800m, recover (slow jog or walk) the same amount of time it took you to run the 800m, repeat. On the average track available to the public, 800m is two laps around the track. This is, by far, one of the easiest workouts to remember. My friend, BJ, wrote a great post on Yasso 800s just the other day. He covers them more in depth, so be sure to check it out!

Sounds like a lot of stuff to remember, right? Not to worry. Here is an example.

Let’s say you want to run your first half marathon with a goal of finishing in 2:30:00.

Your race day pace is: 11:26 min/mi (5.24 mph)
Your easy run pace is: 12:57 min/mi (4.63 mph)
Your tempo run pace is: 10:54 min/mi (5.50 mph)
Your fartlek/speed training pace is: 9:09 min/mi (6.67 mph)
Your long run pace is: 12:57 – 14:29 min/mi (4.63 – 4.14 mph)
Your Yasso 800s pace is: 5:03 min/800m (5.90 mph)

To help you figure out your personal training speeds, check out this page of running calculators here.

I hope this helps you understand different types of running workouts a little better. Don’t be afraid to try them!

What is YOUR favorite run of the week? How many times a week and what workouts do you incorporate?

8 Responses to “Running Terms for Newbie Runners – Types of Runs”

  1. Carrie March 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM #

    I’m just starting marathon training and getting back into longer distances so the long run is my fave right now. I’m weird, and have my long run on Wednesdays.

    Thanks for the helpful breakdown. When I first started running I was so confused about the difference between tempo runs, time trials, and race pace!

  2. Pavement Runner (@PavementRunner) March 28, 2012 at 3:41 PM #

    Great list. Very informative. I havent ever really done a “type” of run. I’ve done some speed work, but that is just me trying to run 3-5 miles faster than marathon pace (5-10k pace I guess). I’ve never done Yasso 800s, but I have mixed in a tempo run on occasion.

  3. Jina @ Behold the Turtle March 28, 2012 at 10:57 PM #

    Thanks for the explanations! I still consider myself a newbie (I’ve been running a little more than a year), and I really didn’t know about YASSO 800s. I’ve heard the term, but I had no idea what it meant. I’d love to incorporate them!

  4. Jayme @ Still A Mile March 31, 2012 at 3:42 PM #

    Saving this for reference. Thanks!

  5. David H. April 1, 2012 at 7:52 PM #

    Thanks for that link to the run/pace conversion; I’ve used the McMillan calculator before, but I like as many options to look at when I’m setting goals or figuring out a new workout.

  6. Perkisha April 9, 2012 at 6:31 AM #

    This is awesome! Thanks Katie! My favorites are long runs, cause it’s the weekend so I’m usually not rushed, it’s a fairly easy pace and my Hubby and I do them together 🙂


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