Different Workouts Offer Different Benefits

April 29, 2010

In order to successfully complete the 8 a.m. Saturday, June 12 Bellin Run, most participants train well in advance using their own personal techniques or any number of special training guides like the one provided on the Bellin Run website.

The question we have to ask is, “Why am I about to do the workout or training I have picked for today?” I want you to know why you are doing your training runs and what benefit each type of training run will offer your body.

The first thing we’ve got to do when it comes to training is to build a base. This simply means get out the door and run at an easy pace and at a distance you can easily handle. Building a base should last you anywhere from 4-6 weeks depending on your starting fitness level. As a note, there are about six weeks left until the Bellin Run.

Next, start adding mileage or time depending on your preference. There are two rules to follow when doing this. First, the 10% Rule. Simply stated, take whatever you did last week and add 10 percent to it to find out how far or how long to go this week.

A second option is to simply add 1 mile for every number of days you ran the week before. For example, if I ran three times for a total of 12 miles one week that means next week I can run 15 miles.

Now lets talk about different types of runs. The easy run is the most common of all runs. It should make up a majority of your total miles. This type of running is for warm-ups, cool-downs, recovery runs and recovery between intervals. This type of running will increase blood flow to muscles and help cardiovascular development. 

Intervals are very intense workouts. They should be about 3-5 minutes long followed by equal recovery – a light jog or complete rest – between each one. This type of training is meant to boost your aerobic system which makes your body more efficient.

Tempo runs are less intense than intervals but are longer in duration. You are running for a longer period of time with no breaks.  Depending on the distance of the race, a tempo workout might be 1 to 10 miles. The goal for this type of run is to improve endurance at a faster pace which once again will make you more efficient.

Long runs are slightly faster than easy runs, offering much of the same benefits. This type of run helps create more capillaries for blood flow to the muscles. The muscles will also start to better adapt to handling waste products. They will also build more cells that create energy so that there will be more to use. This will lead to you being able to run longer and faster without working much harder.

Sprints are simple. Run at a comfortably fast pace for 20-40 seconds and then rest until fully recovered. This will build speed and the “kick” that you want for the end of a race.

Each of these runs has a purpose if implemented correctly in your training regimen. It’s not about training hard all the time, it’s about training smart.

Consult a running specialist if you have questions on what you should be doing to get the most out of your training.

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