The Main Types of Runs

Varying run types can improve athletic performance and break up the monotony of regular training. This article will provide a brief overview of seven types of runs you may consider for training.

Base Run

These are fundamental runs. Your pace should be easy and comfortable, while being able to hold a conversation. Base runs aren’t meant to be difficult, but should make up the majority of weekly milage.

Benefits: improve your overall running fitness – endurance, aerobic capacity, and running economy.

Read more about base runs.

Long run

These runs cover significant distances and durations, while being similar to base runs in that you are not pushing beyond a conversational pace.

Benefits: increase your overall raw endurance. Adaptation to the prolonged stresses encountered during longer runs.

Read more about long runs.


Fartlek is a funny sounding word that means “speed play” in Swedish. These are similar to base runs, but with moments of hard running sprinkled in. You should run at an easy pace, interposing short, bursts of hard effort at different times of your choosing.

Benefits: shake up your running routine by keeping it fresh, and developing better run efficiency.

Read more about Fartleks.

Getting a training run in

Tempo Run

Tempo aka threshold runs, are high effort, short distance runs. Tempo pace should be maintained for a maximum of 20 minutes. Think of it as running at 80-90% of your top speed or “maximal steady state.”

Benefits: improves lactate threshold, allowing your body to run at higher speeds for longer periods of time.

Read more about tempo runs.

Interval Run

Intervals are also known as speed work. The distance of this exercise ranges from 200m to 2000m. After determining your distance, chose a pace that is appropriate for the given session.

Benefits: boosts your VO2 Max, lactate efficiency, endurance, and speed. Improves your form, and stimulates the afterburner effect.

Read more about interval runs.

Hill Repeats

Hill training includes finding a hill of moderate steepness and cyclically sprinting to the top of it…

Benefits: offers similar benefits to intervals but with reduced risk of injury. Build stronger leg muscles in comparison to flat runs.

Read more about hill repeats.

Recovery Run

These are short and easy-paced runs that usually follow more intense sessions like long runs or interval runs. Recovery runs don’t actually enhance recovery, but are so-named because they allow you to train while your body is in a state of recovery.

Benefits: push your fitness levels by challenging your body to work hard in a tired state. Pushing your body past the point of fatigue will improve subsequent performance under stress.

Read more about recovery runs.



An aspirational runner who has been at it since 2013. Eric started this site to help those like him find the information they need to get started.

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