For years I thought all I had to do to train for races was to go out and run. So for years I’d run at the same pace and usually the same distance every time out. The problem was I didn’t get any faster or improve my performance. As I talk to new runners I find I’m not the only one to make that mistake. But the last several years as I’ve read more about the sport of road racing I’ve learned that each run should have a purpose. This strategy has not only helped my performance but also made my workouts more enjoyable. It adds variety and multiple goals which always helps with motivation.
Typically, each week you should try to do one speedwork session, one long run, one tempo run and one easy run. Mixing these with stretching or cross training on off-days to rest has been a good plan for me as I hit the Master division. You younger runners don’t need as many days off but you still need variety.
So, as we get closer to race season, map out that training program and be sure to add some variety with purpose.