Different running workouts and categories


There is so much you can write on running but in this post we’re going to focus on the different running disciplines and workouts.  Firstly let’s look at some some popular running workouts that anyone can try.


Interval workouts consist of repeated shorter segments of fast running separated by slow jogs or standing recoveries.  Intervals are the most popular running workout and great for building up fitness and speed.

The key benefits of running

Tempo Run

A tempo run is a sustained run at lactate threshold intensity, usually the fastest pace that can be sustained over whatever time you are able for, be it 10 minutes or an hour.  If you are training for a race over a certain distance, the Tempo run is the best one as they are the closest to race simulation.

Trail running Vs road running


Fartlek is the Swedish for €œspeed play,€.  A fartlek workout is a base run that mixes in intervals of varying duration or distance

Unlike tempo and interval work, fartlek is unstructured and alternates between moderate to hard efforts with easy efforts throughout. Like interval training, fartleks are more fun in a group setting as you can alternate the leader and mix up the pace and time.

Recovery Run

A recovery run is a relatively short run performed at an easier pace. They can be used as a warm up before the harder running workouts or as a warm down. Do your recovery runs as slowly as necessary.

Base Run

A base run is a relatively short to moderate-length run undertaken at a your natural pace.  Base runs are meant to be done frequently rather than as a challenging workout.

The 7 different running surfaces and how they affect the body

Long Distance Run

The function of a long run is to run over a longer period of time and distance to increase your endurance.  This distance or duration depends on you and your current level of endurance. As a general rule, your longest run should be long enough to give you confidence that raw endurance will not limit you in races.

Progression Run

A progression run is a run that begins at a runners natural pace and ends with a faster period of running. They are intended to be moderately challenging, harder than base runs but easier than most temp or interval runs.

Choosing the right running gear

Hill Repeats

These are great for building up acceleration and fitness.  Hill repeats are repeated short periods of hard uphill running. They serve to increase aerobic power, high-intensity fatigue resistance and pain tolerance.  Hill repeat can be on any sort of incline from moderate to steep.

Different Running Disciplines

World Athletics, the sports governing body, defines six different running disciplines €“ road running, race walking, cross country running, mountain running, and trail running.  But you could also add in others like Ultra Running and Obstacle Course running which have both become very popular.

Here are the different categories of running:



This is the most popular segment in international competition.  A variety of running events are held on the track which fall into three broad distance categories:

Sprints €“ 60m, 100m, 200m, 400m

Middle Distance €“ 800m, 1,500m, 3,000m

Long Distance €“ 5,000m, 10,000m

Hurdles €“ 60m, 100m, 110m, 400m, and the 3000m Steeplechase

Sports that cause the most injuries

Road Running

The most popular discipline by far in terms of global participation is standard road running.  Road racing events can be of virtually any distance, but the most common and well known are the marathon, half marathon, 10 km and 5 km.

Trail Vs Road Running

Trail Running


Trail running generally is like a mix between cross country and mountain running and usually takes place on hiking trails, often in mountainous terrain, where there can be much larger ascents and descents.  Distances vary widely, and s0 most Ultra runs are on trail distance can be 100km +.  But generally races are from 5 km to the ultra marathon distance of 50km.

The fastest sports

Cross Country Running

Cross country is the most natural of the running categories as competitions take place on open-air courses over surfaces such as grass, woodland and trails.  Competitions and races are typically long distance races of 3 km or more which are usually held in autumn and winter.

The key benefits of running

Mountain Running

This running discipline takes place off-road on mountainous terrain.  Mountain running is a combination of running, jogging, and walking, depending on how steep the trail is.  Similar to Ultra Running (which can often involve mountains) races can go on for days and last 100km +.  But mainly mountain running races are between 20 and 45km.

Choosing the right running gear

Ultra Running

Ultra runner are a very different mindset to normal athletes, they basically specialise in runs that can last days and go on for 100’s km!

An ultra run is basically anything over a marathon distance length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi).  The most common distances are 50 kilometres (31.069 mi), 100 kilometres (62.137 mi), 50 miles (80.4672 km), and 100 miles (160.9344 km).

Examples of these are races like the famed 250Km Marathon Des Sables, here are some other insane ultra runs €“ The most extreme races on earth

Obstacle Course Running

There are always new trends and ways to make exercise interesting and fun. One such trend today is obstacle course racing (OCR).

OCR is a race over a given distance with obstacles such as climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, traversing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire. Many obstacles are similar to those used in military training, while others are unique to obstacle racing and are employed throughout the course to test endurance, strength, speed and, dexterity.

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