Running Training

As Podiatrists who treat runners of all levels in our clinic, it is important to understand a runners “vocabulary”. In today’s blog, we talk about some of the most common terms used in running training and what they mean.

Speed training has one specific purpose, to make you go faster! The best way to improve your fastest pace is to work on it for brief periods in a series of speed intervals. They can be the same length and pace with the same amount of recovery time, or can involve various distances, paces and recovery periods. These workouts are often run on a track and involve trying to run faster than normal. Long intervals, Fartlek, Tempo and Hill Runs are all Speed workouts. These are discussed in more detail below.

Your weekly Endurance Run, sometimes referred to as LSD.. (Long, Slow Distance) is vital if you want to improve your fitness. It is a long distance run at a comfortable pace. It is an essential part of your training that helps the body and mind adapt to increased distances. It also helps you get familiar with the physical and mental challenges that you might face during a race.

Recovery is just as important as your hard workouts. A recovery run is defined as relatively short, slow runs undertaken within a day after a harder run.
The athlete (and the clinician) must listen to what the body needs on recovery days, whether that means taking the day off completely, cross-training or running a few recovery miles. It is a good idea to mix up recovery runs on different terrain and surfaces. Light trail is ideal. Recovery Runs increase stamina and help to assist recovery at the highest quality possible after intense training.


Fartlek works on speed and strength by alternating distances and paces during a continuous run. One runner picks up the pace and everyone else tries to keep up. This is especially fun when run on trails or in a park. An example of a Fartlek workout structure could be one minute running easy followed by one minute running hard, repeated for a certain amount of time or distance.

HillS are specifically used to develop strength, but they also help with speed and technique. It takes extra effort to run uphill so you do not need to run as fast as you would on a flat section. While running uphill, remain in control of your breathing. Don’t lean too far forward. A light lean with the chin leading the chest is enough. Uphills are a great way to develop speed and strength with minimal pounding on the legs.

Split Intervals involve chopping up the run into smaller bite-size morsels. This means the athlete will run faster than normal and then take rest breaks in between them. By breaking the distance down into smaller chunks, you can run faster, which builds speed and strength. Essentially intervals involve running two different paces in one interval. For example, running a 400-meter interval, with the first 200 meters easy and the last 200 meters fast. This effectively divides the interval into two parts.

Progression Runs improve stamina and allow the body to adapt to the stress of running. Build your pace over the course of each run by starting at a slower than Recovery Pace and finishing at a faster than Recovery Pace. Over the course of the run you will average your Recovery Pace. Your Endurance and Recovery Runs should always be run as Progression Runs.

Strides refer to very short runs that are usually done prior to a run or workout, or immediately after. A series of strides should become faster in pace. The first stride will be the longest and the slowest. There should be a brief recovery between each stride.

Tempo is a hard but controlled pace that can be run as long intervals or a steady run of 1-10 kilometres. The purpose of a Tempo Run is to build mental and physical endurance and to become
comfortable with being uncomfortable. Tempo runs are hard!


Track refers to a session that includes a series of speed intervals. Ideally, this type of a workout is done on a track as the surface allows you to play with faster paces with precise measurements, but it can be done just about anywhere!


Turnarounds are practiced during short intervals. Rather than stopping at the end of an interval, run through the line and turn around as quickly and safely as you can to start the next repeat.

Runners of all levels can integrate some of these techniques into their weekly training schedule to achieve the best results. If you need advice regarding an injury that may be hindering your running training, contact us today!