What is running?

You move your arms, you move your legs, and you hope with all your might that you can keep up with your breath in order to avoid falling over or fainting. That’s it, right? Wrong! There are so many different ways to run, your head will spin and some of the names and styles are wacky enough that you will feel like you’re running wild.

Here are 5 types of running:

Type of running: Fartlek

Interesting word, eh? Fartlek means, “speed play” in Swedish. If you’re ready to get your butt kicked, try this one out. Once you’ve warmed up, alternate between short, fast intervals and regular running or jogging recovery intervals. Basically, run fast then run slow and repeat. There is no set schedule for how long and often you should do your intervals. The best thing to do is listen to your body and only sprint when you feel your breathing has returned to a regular rate!

For an easy way to keep everything in time, try sprinting during the choruses of the songs you’re listening to (the verses are longer, but do that if you please!) and then slow back down for the verses. This way, you’ll keep things interesting and the music will motivate you to keep going. If you are brand new to running, give yourself a little time before you jump into something like this but when you’re ready for it, bring you’re a-game!

Type of running: Interval Training

Interval training is similar to fartlek in that there will be variation in the intensity of your workout; however, this is governed by an actual ratio. Typically, the higher intensity section will be longer than and slower than for Fartlek. Try to go faster than your race pace but slower than your Fartlek or sprinting pace for this one.

Type of running: Hills

Hills are an amazing way to build strength, improve your overall speed, and boost your running confidence. Don’t be alarmed if the first few times you do them, they know the wind out of you. That’s the fun of it, right?! In time, hill runs do become easier and they’re great especially if you are considering racing at any point. Most trails and race courses involve hills at one point or another and with the right kind of practice, you’ll be more than prepared to tackle them.

At first, try to hit a few hills during your regular run just to get the feel for them. Once you feel comfortable enough, you could do a hill repeat workout, which is basically what it sounds like – you run up a hill and then jog or walk back down it, then repeat. Keep your knees in mind on the way down and try not to come down too hard on your feet! If you want to run an entire uphill course – try Cowles Mountain for the perfect amount of incline and a great workout.

Type of running: LSD

Long, slow distance, that is! This kind of running is exactly what it sounds like. Set an LSD run for a day that you DON’T have to race the following day. Races aside, Saturdays are a great day to wake up early and do a long distance run, with the stress of the week behind you and the excitement of the weekend ahead of you. The idea is to run slow enough that you will be able to continue without fatigue for the entirety of the run. To get an idea, try using a heart rate monitor and be sure that you’re staying within 60-80% of your working heart rate zone or 70-85% of your maximal heart rate. You’ll be surprised at how slow this pace actually feels. However, the distance will help your joints and muscles to adapt themselves for endurance, improve your cardiovascular system, and enhance your body’s ability to burn fat as a source of energy = HELLO LSD! Sign me up!

Type of running: Suicides

And now, for the craziest one of all. You may remember these from sports teams or High School P.E. Suicides are a set of sprints in which each subsequent sprint is longer than the one before it. For a visual, think of a basketball court, in the spirit of March Madness. Your first sprint would be to the end of the first three-point line, the second would be at half court, the third to the other side’s three-point line and the final to the opposite side of the court. Back and forth you go! Suicides earned their name – don’t try and do these on a day that you’ve already exercised because they will have you on your butt in no time. But you’ll be looking good!

Keep in mind that with any run you do, it is in your best interest to perform a proper warm-up, cool-down and stretch to avoid fatigue and achy muscles! If you’re looking into becoming a regular runner, incorporate some of these different styles to keep your workouts fun and exciting! Have fun with it, be safe, and watch the pounds melt away!