The distance of your training runs is dependent upon many different factors. From a quick or slow 5K to a long run at the weekend, each workout has key benefits.
When it comes to running it’s important to point out from the start of this article that there is no right or wrong way to train in terms of the distance you’re covering.
But, by following Profeet’s simple tips, you should soon find out what works best for you and how to manage your mileage accordingly.
Have you got a specific aim?
Targets will change from person to person and whilst it has been tricky to plan ahead during the period of Covid-19, it’s always great to set your stall out and have a relatively clear idea of why you’re training and what you’re training for.
For example, you might’ve recently taken up running to get fitter and boost your mental health – which is great – whilst other runners might be rescheduling their race and training plans due to the cancellation of events, and the advent of new dates.
1: Running long: build endurance
If your target is to train and build your endurance bank for an event or half-marathon distance and beyond then you should look to gradually increase your overall volume.
That means more miles and more time spent running, which in the process will help strengthen muscles in your legs, promote good running form when you start to develop a consistent rhythm and technique; and get you used to working out for longer periods of time.
Increase your distance gradually and try to maintain a conversational pace if you’re running with someone without feeling the need to gasp for air. Gentle progression will boost your fitness and eventually stimulate your body to allow for more oxygen to course through your bloodstream.
It’s hard to quantify exactly what distance equates to a long run as everyone is working at a different level but try to aim for at least one or two longer runs a week (of 10k distance or more) and make sure you recover well either side of them.
2: Running Fast: up your pace
Faster runs are a brilliant way to get used to working at a higher intensity as your body learns to adapt to a new form of stress.
From hill repetitions to interval laps to track work or a 5K Park Run-style outing, speed work varies hugely in its contents in comparison to the more straightforward nature of a long run.
Without getting too technical or scientific, running fast and frequently enhances your body’s ability to consume, store and utilise oxygen quicker – meaning, through training, you’ll become fitter, stronger and faster.
Working your body’s fast-twitch muscle fibres in an explosive way can increase the risk of injury, therefore, it’s important to warm-up thoroughly and recover well after speed work. Again, like long runs, you should also progress steadily and build a basic endurance level before upping your pace too much.
If you’re new to running, don’t like running for too long and want to get leaner – then short, faster runs are your ticket. Indeed, it’s perfect for those who are looking to add a bit of cardio to an overall fitness diet which is mainly consumed by high-intensity interval training and other sports, such as football or tennis, for example.
This mix fits like a glove if you’re also aspiring to do more 5K and 10K races in the near future.
3: The Slow/Fast Combo
The best case scenario is to incorporate a mix of speed and long runs into your training regime, so that they complement each other.
Even while your aims and ambitions might lean further to one side than the other, you should now know that you can maximise the plus points of both, and steer your running goals in the right direction as a result.
Having an understanding of all forms of running and how you can train differently will ultimately help you to improve and become an all-round runner.