Do you really think running is simple? Do you think you just go for a simple run each time? Well, not to dampen your spirits, but there are different types of different runs. These runs can help integrate speed and lung capacity (VO2 Max), which will make you a better runner.
(1) Long runs
Long runs make long distance runner run far. Every seasoned runner will tell you to do long runs to attain your weekly milage goals. Although its called long runs, how long these runs are depends on you. If you are an avid runner who is already used to running long distances, long runs can be about 35km (21.7 miles), if not, I suggest you start small. If you usually run 7km each time, try going 10km during your long runs. Long runs are supposed to make your body used to working for long periods of time, making you able to endure long races.
(2) Interval runs
There is always a debate between tempo runs, fartleks, and interval runs. These three runs are all different. Simply put, they all play with a series of running at different speeds to work on your VO2 Max and your lactate threshold. You can easily Google their differences, but trust me, you do not need to. Personally, I do interval runs myself, and I strongly recommend it to every runner out there. Interval runs are structured and intense. One thing to note is that this increases your speed. If you want to win a race, you need to do speed workouts, and in my opinion Interval Runs are the way to go. For example, to train for a 5km race, I alwasy do 400m at 85-90% effort, then jog 40% for the next 400m. You can design an interval running regime yourself, deciding on your own intensity and goal easily, just remember to not overdo this.
(3) Recovery runs
When you ask runners which runs are the most important, no one will tell you recover runs. Because few people understand how important these runs are. And although named “recovery”run, these runs do not exactly recover your body. Frankly speaking, I have no idea why and how this term is coined because it has little to do with recovery. Recovery runs are shorter runs you do on the same day as your hard or long runs. They aim to train you to run with a fatigue body, which you may encounter having on the race day. Other than helping you prepare for race-day-conditions, some runners believe running after a long run on the same day can help your body or rather, your legs, clear of lactic acid which may build up during your long run. This, hence, prevents soreness of your legs.
Running is not easy, and there are many tweaks you can do to your run to make you different. These tweaks are what differs regular runners, and the racers. Finding your own prefered style of running is way more important than what others believe, so, get out and try these runs during your next training.