While short runs and long runs are pretty self-explanatory tough runs might need a little bit more in the way of illuminating.
Yes, you usually feel and look like crap doing them, but they are really important in helping you raise your race pace. As a result, they are particularly important for those chasing a time.
The first type of tough run you might be experiencing or want to include into your schedule if you have yet to do so is interval training.
Intervals are effectively where you run much faster than you would expect to run a marathon over a much shorter distance. You can run to the clock or to a specific short distance, though you usually combine both.
For example, you might run hard for 2 minutes at the same speed you might run for a 5 k race and then do a slow recovery run for the next minute before repeating this four times.
Or you could do 800 metres around a track in 3 mins 10-15 seconds taking a 90 second stationary recovery before repeating six times.
Or you could do 6 x 2 k at half marathon pace with 2 minute recoveries.
Or you could just not bother thinking about the mathemathics of it all, join up with your athletic club and run the bollix off yourself as you tag along with a group, grit your teeth and try not to drop out the back.
While intervals are tough, they are really worthwhile pushing the ceiling up on your regular running speed and once you get your breath back, the heartbeat drops and you stop sweating, they do make you feel like good when you’re finished.
Tempo – no, not the small village in east Fermanagh (pictured:) at the foot of Brougher Mountain – perhaps ‘easiest’ type of tough run commonly undertaken during marathon training.
Put simply tempo running is where you run a short to moderate distance for a sustained period of time at a faster pace than you might do your long slow runs at but usually just a little slower than your 10-mile race pace.
I like tempo runs for those sessions where you are out on your own and you want to do a tougher run but don’t have the absolute motivation to push yourself to the limits.