Types of Training Runs

There are three types of energy systems that we use when running, the more we can make use of these the faster or further we will run. The types of run summarised below are all intended to do just that.

The training runs described here do not form a complete list, far from it. However they are the most commonly referred to and used by club endurance runners. No attempt has been made to cover all of the many other types of training (for example gym-work) that are also aids to more effective running.

Recovery Runs

These allow your body to recover, regenerate and adapt to a higher level of fitness after a hard weeks training or a race. Might be about 40 minutes long at a pace slower than many runners think a recovery run should be run at! See article on Recovery Runs formore detail.

Lactate Threshold (Tempo) Runs

A continuous run, preceded by a warm up jog and followed by a cool down jog, typically between 20 to 40 minutes. The pace is approximately that you could race at for one hour. These runs help to increase the amount of waste lactate product that can be dealt with so you can get more benefit from the lactate energy system. See article on Lactate Threshold (Tempo) Runs for more detail

VO2 max (Interval) Runs

A series of relatively short (between 600m and 1500m) runs, repeated so that a total distance of about 5km is covered. Each run is referred to as an Interval. The shorter the interval the more repetitions. A recovery period is allowed between each interval. The objective is to increase the amount of oxygen that the bloodstream carries, which enhance the use of the aerobic energy system. (IT is often used as shortand for an Interval Run). An example of  interval run in a training plan might be  “7km with 6x400m IT , 200m jog between” meaning a total run distance of 7km (which includes the warm up and warm down runs before and after the Interval Runs) with a series of six faster runs each of 400m with a 200m jog between each 400m fast run. See the article on VO2 max Interval Runs for more detail.

Short (fast) Interval Runs

A series of very short (between 100m and 400m) runs at fast pace, with jog recoveries between. These are to help your running form (to save energy and increase efficiency)  and your running speed. They could include running on the flat or making use of hills. See article on Short (fast) Interval Runs for more detail.

Long Runs

A single long run at an easy pace that will help to build on the aerobic energy system. It is an essential weekly run for all endurance runners, which is what all Striders are. The distance will depend on the runners background and future goals. See article on Long Runs to Build Endurance for more detail. This is a very important if not the most important weekly run.


As part of building volume (ie total distance run in a week) your training plan might include a less specific and usually less onerous type of run on a day between two harder runs. It might be a moderate or short distance run at a pace perhaps described as Easy or Steady.   These terms have meaning and there are a couple of ways that can help you judge if you are adopting that pace. 

Description of run pace





Perceived Exertion

Very easy


Just comfortable


Breathing reference

Very easy to talk in long sentences

Easy to talk

OK to talk in short bursts. Periods of silence

Hard to talk. Staccato

Graeme Loudain – September 2019

These notes are published as a general aid to all endurance runners. They are guidelines based on current best practice, intended to illustrate the points in the articles rather than provide a precise training schedule. They are written in a way to be of help to runners. Individuals will have their own requirements and the content of the notes will not suit all. Please use them in the spirit in which they are intended and modify them to suit your own needs. If you have suggestions for improvement, amendments or comment, please email gladmin@btinternet.com.