The days are getting longer, the weather’s getting warmer and the jackets are coming off — summer is just around the corner! We spoke with Sandra Gallagher-Mohler, CEO and run coach at IRunTons to create a plan that breaks down the different kinds of runs you should do, as well as how often, how long and how to progress safely as you go.
Here are the four kinds of runs you’ll be doing:
1. AEROBIC BASE BUILDING
The goal with these runs is to build your aerobic system, improve the strength of your heart and establish the foundation for muscular endurance.
The key to this run is to keep the intensity lower than you might normally run. Think: easy breathing with a three-count inhale to a four-count exhale. Gallagher-Mohler advises to run at a pace where you can carry on a conversation for 4–5 miles. That’s the zone where you get maximal benefits on your heart and have the highest fat oxidation (i.e. your body uses fat as its energy source). You might notice it’s at a slower pace than you normally run; that’s fine (and is encouraged).
The next step is to push the very edge of your aerobic conditioning so you can improve faster without crushing yourself. This way, you can train your body to run longer and faster with less effort over time.
To nail this run without being too easy or too taxing, think of it being comfortably hard, and sustainable for two to five miles, depending on your experience and race goals.
3. SPRINT INTERVALS
The goal of this run is to improve your power output, speed endurance and pain tolerance.
Do controlled sprints, runs that encourage two-to-one or one-to-one-breathing for distances ranging from 10 seconds to two minutes. After each repetition, either come to a standing rest or walk until your heart rate drops and you can breathe easily again. Then, repeat as directed. (These should be difficult.)
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT RUN