Other Episodes and Articles

3 Types of Runs to Incorporate in Your Training

mindset motivation running training Jul 12, 2022

There are 3 types of runs that every runner should be incorporating into their training.


Unfortunately, most runners run without a plan or structure, which can lead to a lack of progress, decreased motivation, and injury. In order to avoid those, here are three critical aspects we will be focusing on that can help us understand the importance of incorporating different types of runs into your training.


A mistake that many runners make is doing their runs at the same intensity level, effort level, and distance for all their runs and getting upset because they're not making improvements, not feeling good, or lacking motivation. To make more progress, you must do your runs at different intensities throughout the week; they should not all be at the same effort level. 


A great place to start is understanding the different effort levels and the ratio you want and incorporating those into your training. In effort-level training, we use the Rating of Perceived Exertion scale, or the RPE, with a scale of 1 as super easy and 10 as super hard. Everyone’s paces are associated with different effort levels and change based on many factors.


There are many ways we can measure intensity level—one is how our breathing feels. When running at a level 2 pace, your breathing should feel relaxed and not labored. You should not feel like you're gasping for air or breathing hard. 


When runners want to improve, they often want to get faster. Many runners believe that if they want to run faster, they must push harder. However, it's the opposite: most of your runs should be performed at an L2 easy level. Pushing too hard can stress your tissues and not allow appropriate recovery, leading to pain and injuries. 


Level 5, on the other hand, should feel “comfortably uncomfortable”, but not to the point where you're out of breath. It should require focus for you to stay at this intensity level. This level helps to physically build your lactate threshold (the point where you start to experience discomfort) and also improves your mental ability to cope with feeling uncomfortable.  However, spending too much time at this level can wear you down, increasing the risk of injury and burnout. 


In level 8 effort, your breathing is hard, and you don't want to talk.  You can only hold L8 for short periods of time because of the high-intensity level.  Benefits of L8 training include gaining efficiency in your running form and increasing your overall power output. Many people, especially endurance runners, make the mistake of forgetting to incorporate this higher-intensity work, which can result in slower progress. It’s important to remember that when pushing yourself to this level, you must allow your body and muscles enough time between efforts to recover before attempting to hit that high intensity again.


So how do you incorporate these different effort levels into your training? Generally, 80% of your runs should be at level 2 and 20% at all higher effort levels is a perfect place to start. Dep

ending on your goal, experience, and what is going on in your life and running, you will want to incorporate the specific effort levels in different ratios but remember to include most effort levels at all times.


If you want guidance on building the right training plan, join us in the Real Life Runners Training Academy www.realliferunners.com/academy, where we teach you how to incorporate all of these types of runs into a comprehensive plan to help you achieve your goal.


Now get out there and run your life.


For more on this, check out episode 259 of the Real Life Runners podcast!

Enter your email address to get weekly episodes delivered to your inbox plus tips on how to become a physically and mentally stronger runner!

Don't worry, we won't blow up your inbox. We just want to send you some great info to help you in your running journey. We hate SPAM, and we will never sell your information, for any reason.