Training Advice

Disclaimer: The following tips are based on experience and research by club members. Please however always listen to your own body – not everything works for everyone. If in doubt, please seek medical advice.

Warming Up For a Long Run

Warming up and stretching is a essential part of your workout – we encourage warm up’s/warm downs as part of every session


What are Strides?

Strides are 20 to 35 second sprints at your mile race pace, or roughly 85 to 95% effort. Typically, they are assigned to a running schedule after an easy recovery run or before a big workout or race.

Strides are also used as part of the warm-up process to help get the blood flowing to your legs and your heart rate elevated.

How to do Strides

Step 1: Complete your scheduled run on your schedule at an easy pace. Strides are completed after your run, not during.

Step 2: After your run, you should stretch lightly for 3-5 minutes. Focus on anything that was tight during your run, or that is a problem area for you.

Step 3: Begin your stride by easing into a fast pace over the first 5 seconds. It is important to ease into the pace, and not explode out of the gait to prevent injury.

Step 4: After 5 seconds, you should have reached full speed. Begin to focus on staying relaxed and letting your body do the work. Keep a relaxed face, make sure your arms aren’t flailing, and work on landing on your midfoot (closer to your toes), not your heel. Continue to stay relaxed at your top end speed and gradually, over the last 5 seconds slow yourself to a stop.

Step 5: Take a full recovery between each stride, which should be about 2 minutes. You can stop to catch your breath, walk, or slowly jog in place. The purpose of strides is not to get in a hard workout or to have you breathing hard. Strides are designed to work on speed and mechanics, so starting your next stride winded or before you are fully recovered is detrimental to the training adaptations.

What are the benefits of strides?

Strides have many benefits and a multitude of fashions depending on what you are trying to accomplish with each runner.

  1. Strides help you work on your mechanics in short increments. It’s easy to focus on form when you’re only running for 20 to 30 seconds and you’re not overly tired. Not only does it help you create mental cues to stay on your toes and feel relaxed, but it makes the process more natural for the body during the race.
  2. As distance runners, you spend most of our time running at slower speeds to build your aerobic systems or work on your threshold. Strides offer you a great way to inject some speed work into your training plan without having to sacrifice a whole day of training. Just a few strides a couple of days a week will inject some “get down speed” into your legs.
  3. Strides are a great pre-curser to faster, more rigorous training. Beginner runners, before they start doing any workouts, can be assigned strides because they may not be used to going fast or doing speed work, strides are a gentle introduction for the body and help them get used to the feeling of running faster.
  4. Finally, strides can serve as a great way to stretch out the legs after an easy session. Often times, especially in marathon training, the legs can get stale with the mileage and tempo runs. Strides help break up the monotony and add a little spice to the training and your legs. A few stride sessions are usually enough to get your marathon weary legs feeling fresh again.

Types of training runs

There are 8 types of training runs. If you want to get the most out of the time you devote to training, you will need to learn and practice them, too.

  • 1 Recovery Run

    A recovery run is a relatively short run performed at an easy pace. Recovery runs serve to add a little mileage to a runner’s training without taking away from performance in the harder, more important workouts that precede and follow them. Recovery runs are best done as the next run after a hard workout such as an interval run. Do your recovery runs as slowly as necessary to feel relatively comfortable despite lingering fatigue from your previous run.

    Example: 4 miles easy

  • 2 Base Run

    A base run is a relatively short to moderate-length run undertaken at a runner’s natural pace. While individual base runs are not meant to be challenging, they are meant to be done frequently, and in the aggregate they stimulate big improvements in aerobic capacity, endurance, and running economy. Base runs will make up a bulk of your weekly training mileage.

    Example: 6 miles at natural pace

  • 3 Long Run

    Generally, a long run is a base run that lasts long enough to leave a runner moderately to severely fatigued. The function of a long run is to increase raw endurance. The distance or duration required to achieve this effect depends, of course, on your current level of endurance. As a general rule, your longest run should be long enough to give you confidence that raw endurance will not limit you in races. There are many spins you can put on a long run, such as progressing the pace from start to finish or mixing intervals (described on the last page) into the run.

    Example: 10-15 miles at natural pace (or further)

  • 4 Progression Run

    A progression run is a run that begins at a runner’s natural pace and ends with a faster segment at anywhere from marathon down to 10K pace. These runs are generally intended to be moderately challenging—harder than base runs but easier than most threshold and interval runs. Because they’re a medium-effort workout, the recovery time is less than more intense sessions
    Example: 5 miles at natural pace + 1 mile at marathon pace + 1 mile at half-marathon pace

  • 5 Fartlek

    A fartlek workout is a base run that mixes in intervals of varying duration or distance. It’s a good way to begin the process of developing efficiency and fatigue resistance at faster speeds in the early phases of the training cycle, or to get a moderate dose of fast running later in the training cycle in addition to the larger doses provided by tempo/threshold and interval workouts. They can also serve as a less-structured alternative to a traditional interval session such as a track workout.

    Example: 6 miles at natural pace with 10 x 1:00 pickups at 5K pace with 1:00 recoveries mid-run

  • 6 Hill Repeats

    Hill repeats are repeated short segments of hard uphill running. They increase aerobic power, high-intensity fatigue resistance, pain tolerance, and run-specific strength. The ideal hill on which to run hill repeats features a steady, moderate gradient of 4 to 6 percent. Hill repetitions are typically done at the end of the base-building period as a relatively safe way to introduce harder high-intensity training into the program.

    Example: 2 miles of easy jogging (warmup) + 10 x 45-second hill repeats at a hard effort with 2-minute jogging recovery between reps + 2 miles easy jogging (cooldown)

  • 7 Tempo Run

    A tempo run is a sustained effort at lactate threshold intensity, which is the fastest pace that can be sustained for one hour in highly fit runners and the fastest pace that can be sustained for 20 minutes in less fit runners. Tempo or threshold runs serve to increase the speed you can sustain for a prolonged period of time and to increase the time you can sustain that relatively fast pace.

    Example: 1 mile of easy jogging (warmup) + 4 miles at lactate threshold pace + 1 mile of easy jogging (cooldown)

    There is a specific type of tempo run that is known as a marathon-pace run. A prolonged run at marathon pace is a good workout to perform at a very challenging level in the final weeks of preparation for a marathon, after you’ve established adequate raw endurance with long runs and longer progression runs featuring smaller amounts of marathon-pace running.

  • 8 Intervals

    Interval workouts consist of repeated shorter segments of fast running separated by slow jogging or standing recoveries. This format enables a runner to pack more fast running into a single workout than he or she could with a single prolonged fast effort to exhaustion.

    Interval workouts are typically subcategorized as short intervals and long intervals, and are often performed on the track. Long intervals are 600 to 1,200-meter segments run in the range of 5K race pace with easy jogging recoveries between them. They’re an excellent means of progressively developing efficiency and fatigue resistance at fast running speeds.

    Example: 1 mile of easy jogging (warmup) + 5 x 1K at 5K race pace with 400m jogging recoveries + 1 mile of easy jogging (cooldown)

    Short intervals are 100 to 400m segments run at roughly 1,500m race pace or faster. They boost speed, running economy, fatigue resistance at fast speeds and pain tolerance. Distance runners typically use shorter, faster intervals earlier in the training cycle to increase their pure speed and then move to slightly longer, endurance-based intervals to improve fatigue resistance.

    Example: 1 mile of easy jogging (warmup) + 10 x 300m at 1 mile race pace with 200m jogging recoveries + 1 mile of easy jogging (cooldown)