Incorporating variety into your running routine is not only enjoyable but also beneficial for your fitness and overall well-being.
Here’s how you can balance running fast, running slow, tackling hills, and enjoying flats.
1. Interval Training (Run Fast)
Intervals involve alternating between high-intensity sprints and recovery periods. These sessions improve speed, cardiovascular fitness, and metabolism.
For example, run at a fast pace for 1-2 minutes, followed by a slower recovery jog.
Repeat this pattern for several sets.
2. Long, Easy Runs (Run Slow)
Longer, slower runs at an easy pace build endurance and help you recover from intense workouts. These runs are also a great opportunity to enjoy your surroundings and clear your mind.
3. Hill Repeats (Run Hills)
Find a hill with a challenging incline and sprint up it, then jog or walk back down for recovery, trying to maintain good form while doing this. Hill repeats build leg strength, power and mental toughness.
4. Flat Terrain (Run Easy)
Running on flat terrain can help you focus on your form and pacing. It’s a great opportunity to work on maintaining a consistent pace and developing efficient running mechanics.
Ideally, this should form the majority of your weekly runs.
5. Fartlek Runs (Mix It Up)
Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, involves alternating between fast and slow segments throughout your run. Play with your pace, speeding up when you feel like it and slowing down to recover.
6. Enjoyment and Mindfulness
Keep in mind that enjoying your run is crucial for long-term consistency. Listen to your favourite music, podcasts, audiobooks, or simply immerse yourself in the beauty of your surroundings.
7. Run Socially
Running with friends or joining a local running group can make running more enjoyable and provide motivation. You can chat, share experiences, and hold each other accountable.
8. Go Exploring
Choose different routes for your run, to explore new areas and change your scenery. Vary the terrain you run on to challenge different muscles and reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Mix between trails, tracks, grass, and pavement to minimise the strain on specific areas. It keeps things exciting and can make your run feel like an adventure.
9. Rest and Recovery
Don’t forget to include rest days in your routine to allow your body to recover between intense running sessions. Rest days are important to prevent overtraining, burnout and give your muscles and joints a chance to repair.
10. Celebrate Progress
Gradually increase the duration, distance, or intensity of your run to allow your body to adapt and avoid overuse injuries.
Track your progress over time and celebrate your achievements. Whether it’s hitting a new distance, improving your pace, or conquering a challenging hill, acknowledging your progress boosts motivation.
11. Adapt to How You Feel
Listen to your body and adjust your running plan based on how you’re feeling.
Some days you might want to push the pace, while other days a leisurely jog, walk or stretch might be just what you need.
12. Set Goals
Setting specific goals, whether it’s a personal best time, a certain distance, or completing a race, this can provide a sense of purpose and keep you motivated.
Remember, the key is to find a balance that works for you and keeps you excited about running. Enjoyment is a fundamental part of maintaining a sustainable and fulfilling running routine.
~ Nino La Scala