Running Workouts:  A Guide for Long Distance Runners

Here is a running workouts guide for long distance runners.

As there are so many different types of training runs that can be incorporated into a training routine I wanted to break it down and to simplify the workouts that you might want to include in yours whether you are training for a marathon or a half marathon. 

I have broken this guide down into:

All in depth guides to each type of running workout is linked in each section for further information.

  • endurance building workouts
  • strength building workouts
  • speed building workouts 
  • and other workouts that many runners do and can be found on this site

The key is in knowing how and when to include them into your training routine!

Endurance Building Running Workouts:

Running Workouts Endurance Building Workouts

The Long Run

The goal of the long run is to increase your endurance in a steady and progressive manner.

In a training plan, your long runs are the strongest predictors of your success in a long distance race.

From runner to runner the requirements for a long run can vary, however for half marathoners anything from 5-6 miles+ might be considered a long run and for a marathoner anything over 10 miles might be of long run status. 

Running Workouts Long Run

Goal Pace Long Runs

The idea behind this long run training workout is:

  • you will practice running longer at your marathon goal race pace,
  •  learn how fast you should start your race and long runs to sustain your pace during later miles
  • learn how to keep your pace steady or how to recover your pace especially on hilly terrain, and
  •  learn how to recognize pace adjustments that might need to be made.

These are usually included towards the final weeks of marathon training.

Running Workouts Goal Pace Long Run

Progressive Long Runs

These runs are designed to get your body used to running at your marathon goal race pace when you are already tired or beginning to become tired in the later stages of your long run.

They are one of my favorites because they are so effective at helping you to see progression with your goals!

Strength Building Running Workouts:

Running Workouts Strength Building Workouts

Hill Repeats

Hill Repeats are the best way to strengthen your legs as a runner as they are sports specific, i.e. they target your running muscles, which will help you to become not only stronger but faster.

They consist of short bouts (anywhere from 30-90 seconds depending on the incline of the hill) of effort up a hill with a recovery period before repeating another one.

I like to include a hill repeat training block (one hill repeat workout each week while increasing the number of included repeats for about 4-8 weeks) during a marathon or half marathon training plan.

Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are an add-on running workout that can drastically help reduce your risk of injury while building lower body strength.

They are shorter in length than hill repeats usually only lasting about 6-12 seconds and can be included early on in a training plan to help your body get ready for a more intense hill and speed training block.

Running Workouts Hill Sprints

Note: Hill workouts aren't just for outdoors. You can absolutely get a great hill workout done on a treadmill! 

Here is a guide to running treadmill hill workouts + a 30 minute hill repeats workout you can on the treadmill.

Speed Training Workouts:

Interval workouts

Help you meet your goal race pace time by training faster than your goal race pace for shorter interval periods.

This will also help you feel more comfortable at your goal race pace during the race itself.

Your interval length will be longer or shorter depending on the race distance that you are training for.

Half marathoners can run shorter interval lengths (0.5 to 1 mile intervals) versus marathoners who should run longer intervals (about 1 to 2 miles each). 

Running Workouts Interval Run


This workout is more of a freestyle form of speed training. Instead of sprinting for a specific distance, you run as far as you want, recover, before deciding when to add another sprint into your run.

These are great if you don’t have access to a track or a treadmill or simply just want to run your favorite running path without confinement!

A good pace for fartleks is one where you run until you find it difficult and become out of breath. 

Running Workouts Fartleks

Tempo/Threshold Runs

Tempo runs train your body to run at lactate threshold, pushing off your time of fatigue.

Tempo runs also:

  • help teach your body to sustain faster paces for longer periods of time and 
  • boosts your mental capacity to hold those faster paces for long periods of time. 

If you are unsure of what your pace should be for these workouts, our Pace Kit,  Quick Win: Find Your Running Fitness Level Runner's Toolbox will give you a personalized pacing plan to help you determine how fast or slow you should be running each type of workout based off of your current fitness level and your goals. 

Other Running Workouts:


Strides teach you to run faster.

Include these after your runs before you start a weekly speed training cycle to get your body prepared for more strenuous speed workouts or during a taper phase when you are not doing intense workouts but you want to remind your body of all the speed gains you have made.

These will also teach you how to finish a race strong!        


Running Workouts Running Strides

Recovery Runs

Recovery runs are slow paced runs that follow intense, long, or hard workouts.

They effectively help your body make repairs and recover faster in order to allow you to run at the same level or higher the next time you go out for a long run.

Recovery runs are usually run half a minute to a minute and a half slower than your normal running pace.

Running Workouts Recovery Runs

Repetition Runs

The main difference between repetitions and intervals is the recovery time allowed.

During interval training, you are training your body to work in a slightly stressed condition in order to build endurance at your goal race pace so the recovery time is shorter.

When running repetitions however, the goal is to build speed, so you want to be fully recovered in between reps and therefore your recovery time is longer.

A repetition though is much shorter in length usually only about 100-400 meters in length.

These are more of your traditional sprint style workouts.

The main goal of repetition runs are to help keep your goal pace during your race by training faster to make that goal pace feel easier.

They also help to improve your leg speed, cadence, and turnover while helping you to have a stronger kick at the finish line!

Running Workouts Repetition Runs

Running Drills

Functional drills are movements that mimic or over-emphasize the moves that your body makes as you are running.

They include benefits such as:

  •  protect your body from injury, 
  • increase your speed, 
  • teach you how to be light and quick on your feet, 
  • promote softer landings and help you gain overall efficiency in your running

How to Pace Yourself For Each Type of Running Workout:

Pacing yourself is one of the key elements to nailing a running workout!

A lot of the workouts are directly tied to what pace you are running at in order to fulfill the goal of the workout. 

Running Workouts How to Pace Yourself

If you want a personalized pace package for yourself determined by your Vo2max and your current goals then check out Quick Win: Find Your Running Fitness Level Runner's Toolbox

Other Running Workouts Found on This Site:

Treadmill Workouts

5 Workouts to Help You Increase Your Running Speed

A Simple Running Workout to Gain Endurance

3 Running Workouts to Promote Weight Loss

2 Month Beginner’s Plan to Increase Endurance & Run 30 Minutes Without Stopping!

Related Pages:

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