7 Types of Running Plans that are Ideal for You

Before starting, you should know the different types of running plans available and evaluate your goals so that you can combine different styles to create a training formula that's completely suited to you.
7 Types of Running Plans that are Ideal for You

Last update: 23 August, 2018

Running is a discipline that requires a daily routine; it is not about running just for the sake of running. In order to improve your running times, your workout should consist of a strict running plan. In putting together your plan, you must consider several factors, including your individual needs and their scope.

Running Plans

The first thing you should be clear about when you start to train is that you will need to set clear goals. In order to do so, you must organize a training plan, consisting of different types of outcomes. This must be alternated so that you can progressively improve.

Short distance running

In these runs, you should be running at the same pace as you would during a race. Short distance runs can be combined with strength training or different running styles. This type of training plan is of moderate intensity and its duration should be minimal; it is typically included in longer runs or as part of a set.

Long distance running

This type of running plan is used by professional runners, since it starts off with a slower pace, regardless of how long the course is.

The goal of this type of training is to add distance and prepare your legs for the amount of effort that you will face during a half marathon or a marathon. Additionally, you can use this training to coordinate a group run, because it is usually a very pleasant way to enjoy long distances.

Sometimes what guarantees your success in running is to alternate your usual routine with different sets, at least once a week. Among the different sets you can find are: long, short, pyramids, or ascending.

Long set

This set is done at a much faster pace than you would use in a race, while your rest breaks are longer so that your heart rate can recover. These breaks can be around two or three minutes long, depending on each runner. A set is considered long when it is one kilometer or over, it all depends on three things:

  1. Your physical state.
  2. Running distance.
  3. Global training.

Short set

This running set is usually 200 to 500 meters in distance, but you can aim for other distances as well. The objective of this running plan is to increase your speed and maximum oxygen consumption. Although it may not seem like it, this set is actually the one that runners fear the most, due to all the effort that it requires. This effort is so great, that the day before you complete this set, you should keep it as a rest day.

Ascending set

You can perform this set for long distances, such as marathon distance. Basically, ascending sets require you to maintain a higher pace than you would normally use in a race. 

We must note that you should really not overwork yourself on any set. The idea is that you control both your pace and your effort, so that you can complete the entire set.

Descending set

As with the previous set, the descending set requires you to change both the distance and your pace, as you run. This set should include five to six runs during which you will progressively reduce your distance and, at the same time, increase your pace little-by-little. Since this is a running plan that requires a lot of physical effort, you must make sure you do not overexert yourself.

Basically, this is an ideal plan for running medium distances or for improving your timings in short distances. You should keep your heart rate and pace under control. For this, you can use a heart rate monitor.

Fartlek method

The Fartlek method is based mostly upon how you feel after a run, and not so much on what your heart rate monitor indicates. Because of this, your breaks between sets should be more frequent and include jogging, in order to lower your heart rate. Use how you are feeling to determine when to start back up again.

In order to find the right formula for you, you will need to combine all of these different types of running plans. For example, during the week you can complete one day of the long set, another day of the short set, and one or two days of the Fartlek method. These combinations and the different sets can form the ideal running plans to help you train for a race.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.