Main image for Training Runs Explained Time to Read: ~2 min

My entry to running began with a goal to run a half marathon. My husband and I were not runners, and we found a Hal Higdon Novice training plan for a half marathon. We dutifully logged our miles, running together for the entire training plan and race.

Many years later we are both avid runners. We are learning more about the sport and how to train to improve our speed. As part of my reading, I found explanations for different types of runs.

Long Runs (Over 15 miles)

Start at the slower end of the pace and gradually pick up the speed. The last 5-10 miles should be 10% slower than marathon goal pace.

  • 10-20% Slower than marathon goal pace
  • 74-84% of maximum HR.

Medium Long Runs (11-15 miles)

Similar to Long Run pace.

Marathon Pace Runs

Sometimes a training plan calls for a pace run. This is typically a medium long run where you run most of your miles at marathon goal pace.

General Aerobic Runs

This is a standard moderate effort run of up to 10 miles. It is shower than lactate threshold runs and shorter than medium long runs, but faster than recovery running. A general thing to remember about this type of run is that if you are too tired to do a hard training session the next day then your general aerobic run was too hard.

  • 15-25% slower than marathon goal pace
  • 70-81% of maximum HR

Lactate Threshold Runs

These are tempo runs with a run of at least 20 minutes at lactate threshold pace. The lactate threshold pace is somewhere between a 15K and half marathon pace.

  • 72-91% of max HR
  • 2-3 mile warm-up, 4-7 miles of tempo run in the middle and 15 minute cool down.

Recovery Runs

These are relatively short runs at a relaxed pace. This type of run will leave you feeling refreshed. You should look for flat surfaces and a soft surface is preferable.

  • Below 76% of max HR