So, when I first started running (many, many moons ago), I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I basically just tried to keep up with the boys on my team and hope that I finished in the top 10. This was back when running wasn’t cool and a runner like me could regularly finish in the top 10 at a race.
As I progressed in my competitive (snort) running career into high school, I caught wind of how we had different workouts throughout the week. We termed them “easy, medium, or hard” and
feared guessed which one our coach would throw at us as we changed for practice after school.
But then I started noticing a pattern to the weekly workouts.
These days, there is a very specific method to my madness, not unlike the daily torture we were prescribed in high school by my mustached coach.
The physiologic benefits of each run cannot be ignored.
- Repeats: clearing the lactic acid out of your system
- Tempo: increasing lactate threshold and practice cadence
- Long: improve cardiovascular and mitochondrial function
- Fartlek: improve running economy (how fuel/oxygen is used)
- Intervals: improve VO2 max
There are cross-over benefits in these workouts but they all do one very huge thing:
CONDITION YOUR BODY TO PERFORM MORE EFFICIENTLY WHILE YOU RUN.
Period. End of story.
If you want to run the same times (or slower) and feel the same (or worse), go right ahead and do the same workouts. Be my guest. Doing the same type of run over and over will not change your body, how it functions, or affect your times.
But if you want to feel awesome when you run and get a little faster along the way, it’s time to get down to business with a real schedule. With some real science.
Not every workout needs to be balls out (in fact, some are purposely BALLS IN workouts) but there is a purpose to every run. Even if that purpose is to boost your mental game.
Now go out and run!