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What are the Different Methods of Running Training?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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When people choose to run in order to one day run races, or participate in running events, rather than simply jogging for aerobic fitness, it is necessary to employ some type of training method. There are a number of different methods of running training that can be effective, and many people choose their running training method based on personal preference and the amount of time they have available to them. Interval training and alternating distance runs are two common training methods.

Interval training is frequently used by runners who want to increase their speed. In interval training, a runner will run at a set pace for a predetermined period of time, and intersperse this speed with periods of sprinting. For instance, one might run at a normal speed for two minutes, then sprint for 30 seconds, then return to a normal speed for two more minutes, and so on. Over time, this method of running training is a great way to increase speed and endurance, as well as increase the muscular strength in the legs.

When preparing for distance runs, where it will be necessary to maintain a speed over a long distance, one common method of running training is to do a few short runs on most days of the week, followed by a long run for one day of the week. For instance, if one is training for a long run, one might run five to ten miles each day during the week, followed by a 15 mile run on the weekend, for example. Running coaches often advise taking at least a day or two of rest during the week to allow the body to recover.

This method of running training helps the body to slowly build up endurance and become strong enough to run races. If one is participating in cross country events, one will generally choose to do running training outside on uneven terrain in order to adapt the body to that type of training. Another type of running method training is through the use of heart rate tracking, which is an excellent measure of physical fitness as well.

Finally, some simply time themselves while running in order to train; one might time oneself to see the speed at which a mile can be run, then gradually try to improve that time. Any method of training can be effective, but it is important to consider one's goals ahead of time. It can be very motivating to have something to work for, but discouraging if you set your goals too high.

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Discussion Comments

By KoiwiGal — On Jul 12, 2014

@browncoat - I've always found the best training for running is to walk up stairs or hills. I lived in a hilly city for a while when I was a student and I was always having to walk fast uphill to get to my classes (particularly since I liked to sleep in, so I was always late).

I wasn't intending to train, but I realized after a couple of months that I was able to run much further than I used to be able.

I think that having to haul your body weight up a hill is one of the best workouts that you can get. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's kind of embarrassing to be doing it in public, because I get very red and sweaty. I guess that's the sign of a good workout though.

By browncoat — On Jul 11, 2014

@MrsPramm - It's so important to start out slowly with your running training plan so that doesn't happen. It's very easy to injure yourself before you know your own limits and when you aren't at a good level of fitness. And the beginner is much more likely to be permanently thrown by an injury.

I think it's better to just start as slowly as possible, even just walking rather than trying to run if you have to, and then work up to more ambitious training.

By MrsPramm — On Jul 11, 2014

The latest research seems to indicate that it's better to warm up and maybe do some dynamic stretching before a training session, but not static stretching. That can be left until after the session to help cool down, or even until later on in the day.

If you stretch too much before exercising, you can actually make it more likely that you're going to hurt yourself, since your muscles can become too loose and likely to get pulled the wrong way.

This is particularly important when you are starting running training programs, as people often injure themselves in the first few days or weeks and then give up completely.

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