February 9, 2023

Written by Cody Lester

The old adage is, in order to get better at running you just need to run more. What is not explained are the various types of running training you should do, as well the accessory strength work you should incorporate. Whether you are a beginner or an avid marathon runner, these exercises and training types will help you train up for a half-marathon. 

There are so many different types of running drills, exercises and movements besides just putting on the shoes and clocking in miles. In fact, getting out and running full-steam for as long as possible can actually be counterproductive to training for longer distance and endurance. Especially if you are new to running long-distances. This type of singular training style can cause injury or become so monotonous over time that you may lose motivation or burn out before you ever reach the starting line. 

When you utilize a variety of training methods, you can rehearse potential race scenarios in training that will simulate the fatigue and endurance required for long distance. You also learn how to overcome any physical or psychological changes that you may experience.This can not be done with monotonous training that only focuses on one aspect of running. Variation of movement keeps your body from reaching a plateau or developing an overuse injury. You need to consistently adjust training by changing the structure of your running plan. 

Common perception is that running is just the same movement over and over until the distance is calculated. However, with long distances you must be able to use different muscles, different techniques, know when to rest and when to pick up the pace. Putting your body through the necessary range of motions to develop strength will mitigate injury and improve your overall performance.

Tempo runs, pace runs, hill sprints, and sprint intervals are all great ways to mix up your training and simulate some of the scenarios your body might go through while running a longer distance race. 

Pace RunTempo RunInterval RunHill Run
Use your 1 mile time to calculate your paceSub-Maximal runs that are roughly 25-30 seconds slowerMaximal effort used in short distance or short time periodsUtilize elevation to increase difficulty of sprints
Aim to run faster than your average mile pace for distances shorter than one mileConcentrate on form, relaxation and technique over beating the clock30s/60s are one example. 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 60 seconds of light activityAim to sprint uphill for 30-90 seconds, then walk down for recovery
Pace varies based off distancePrimarily utilized as a form of training for longer runsThis training improves the runner’s ability to control breathing and reduces overall fatigueThis training promotes strength in ligaments joints and tendons and improves running technique

I have provided a few tools to add to your tool-belt when training for your next race. Adding variety to your training will help improve performance and reduce injury. Varying your type of training, incorporating strength training and learning more about your capabilities and weaknesses will allow you to grow and develop. Hopefully, you can incorporate these principles so that you can get out and crush your next race.