Easy running (E) is typically an intensity of about 59 to 74 percent of V02 max, or about 65 to 78 percent of maximum heart rate. The purpose of easy running is to develop the heart muscle, increasing vascularization, build resistance to injury and develop the characteristics of the muscles themselves that are involved in running. Easy running also allows you to adequately recover between quality sessions and is a great way to build and maintain base fitness.
Long runs (L) are typically run at E pace. The long run allows you to increase your mileage, practice race day fuel, and hydration strategies, and develop your confidence in the ability to run for a long time.
Marathon-pace running (M) is training at your projected marathon race pace. The purpose of M running is to adjust to the specific pace to be used in the coming marathon, practice drinking and eating and develop the confidence in racing at your goal marathon pace.
Threshold running (T) should be comfortably hard and is a pace that is manageable in training for around 30-45 minutes. Peaked and rested, you can race at T pace for about 60 minutes. T runs allow your body to improve its ability to clear blood lactate and keep it below a manageable level. T runs teach your body to handle a more demanding pace for a prolonged period of time. The goal with T runs is to improve the speed you can maintain at this intensity, otherwise referred to as your velocity at lactate threshold.
Interval training (I) maximises aerobic power (V02 max), or the maximum amount of oxygen your body can take in and use during vigorous exercise. This correlates to a pace you could sustain for between 4-8 minutes during training. The purpose of I training is to gain the maximum benefit out of the least amount of stress. I bouts are hard and vary between 3-5 minutes, sometimes shorter if recovery is kept to a minimum.
Repetition training (R) improves anaerobic power, speed and economy of running. Single work bouts of R running should not be longer than 2 minutes. To run faster, we must run faster in training, however, the priority is always running mechanics. If you're sacrificing technique for speed, you are not accomplishing the purpose of the workout. R training usually consists of repeated 200s, 300s, 400s, 500s, and 600s, or timed bouts not exceeding 2 minutes.
Strides (S) are 10-30 seconds of speed up to a fast pace of running you can sustain without compromising your running mechanics and level of comfort. Strides develop and improve your running economy or the amount of energy you use to run. Strides develop your neuromuscular pathways, teaching your body and brain to become comfortable at faster speeds. They are best paired with E runs, as well as before workouts to facilitate the neuromuscular demands of running at the intensity.
Hill sprints are like strides and are responsible for developing stride length, training the characteristics of the muscles responsible for hilly running, and developing strength and power. The duration of hill sprints is normally between 10-40 seconds with a full recovery walk or jog before commencing the next sprint.
Rating of perceived exertion is a scale (1-10) used to quantify the workload of an individual session and to ensure each session is run at the correct intensity. The scale is as follows:
Easy (Fundamental) / Regeneration (Recovery)
Purpose: Endurance. Recovery
Talk test: Able to tell a story
RPE <4. Variable with context
Breathing: Rhythmic, non laboured
Talk test: Comfortable conversation
Purpose: High end aerobic
Breathing: Deeper and laboured
Talk test: 2 - 3 sentences
Purpose: Lactate threshold
Breathing: Deep and laboured - faster than steady state
Talk test: 5 word sentence
Purpose: Critical speed. V0₂ max
RPE 7-10. Variable with context
Breathing: Short and rapid
Talk test: F@$k.