It goes without saying that of all the disciplines running is the most natural, convenient, and enjoyable. The evidence of the senses would seem to support this assertion. Just watch kids run through the park or playground and hear their squeals of delight.
The tendency among new runners is to run as often and as much as possible, and even seasoned veterans can overdo it, courting injury. Better to emphasize quality of miles over quantity. Include the following workouts, which we call LITE training, to ensure you get the most out of your next race.
1. LONG RUN
Once a week, run the distance of your goal race, or if you are training for a marathon, run at least 75% of this distance, or 20 miles. This can be divided into two shorter runs. Long runs strengthen your legs and teach them how to efficiently use glycogen, which helps you avoid the so-called "wall" late in the race.
Also called sprints, repeats, and fartleks, intervals are shorter distances (100 meters up to a mile) that encourage faster turnover and speedier times, helping to develop that kick that you'll need at the end of a race.
3. TEMPO RUN
A tempo run is done at goal race pace. For a 10k (6.2) miles try running at race pace for half the distance (5k, or about 3 miles). If you're training for a half marathon do a tempo run of 6 to 10 miles. Marathon tempo runs can be done at distances of up to 13.1 miles, or simply sign-up for a half marathon a month before your event. Tempo runs give your legs an idea of what will be expected of them come race day.
Extras include two-a-day runs, hills, cross-training (swimming and biking), weight training, stretching, massage, etc. Extras add variety to the training regimen which staves off boredom and keeps things fresh. By including these workouts into your weekly training regimen you can ensure that your next race is your best yet.