What it is: Runs of 80 to 100 meters done at about 90 percent top speed, with plenty of recovery between to allow good form on each. Strides are typically done after an easy run or as part of a warmup or prerace run.
Why do it: Strides teach you how to run fast, but relaxed. They’re a good time to work on your running form. As with other short, fast repeats, strides put you through a fuller range of motion than normal runs, and this greater mobility can make you more efficient at all paces.
Sample workout: After an easy 5-mile run, 8 x 100-meter strides, with as much standing or walking recovery between as desired
SPEED DEVELOPMENT WORKOUT
What it is: Short (200 meters or 30-45 seconds) repetitions at mile race pace or a little faster. These are typically thought of as “turnover” workouts and done as a light, secondary hard workout in a training week.
Why do it: Short repeats have many of the same benefits as strides—increased efficiency and turnover, plus moving through a full range of motion. But because you hold the pace for longer they make for more of a conventional interval workout. Learning how to repeatedly produce this fast pace without straining will improve your finishing kick at the end of races.
Sample workout: 8-12 x 200 meters at mile race pace, with a 200-meter jog between repeats.
RUNNING ECONOMY REPEATS
What it is: Repetitions of between 60 and 90 seconds at about mile race pace. Faster runners might call these workouts “quarters” if they do one lap of a conventional track at this effort. Runners specializing in longer races will typically do one or two economy sessions per month. Recovery jogs between repeats is often equal to the distance run, so that you can run each repeat at the prescribed pace.
Why do it: Running economy is analogous to the fuel efficiency of a car. It’s a measure of how efficiently you use the oxygen you take in (your body’s “gas”) when running. Improving your running economy enables you to go farther at a given pace (or faster at the same effort level).
Sample workout: 10 x 400 meters at mile race pace, with a 400-meter jog between repeats.