Speed: Short, fast workouts repeated several times with short rest intervals in between. For example: Run 800 meters 4 times, jogging 1 lap (400 meters) in between. The interval workouts specified in this program will help you increase your running economy, running speed and VO2Max (or the ability to use your Oxygen supply most efficiently). Many runners see an immediate improvement once they start incorporating speedwork into their routine.
Tempo: Tempo runs are medium-distance runs at a “comfortably-hard” pace. The goal is to maintain a fast pace (faster than your race goal pace if you’re training for a longer distance race) for several miles. An example tempo run might be to run 5 miles at 15 seconds per mile faster than your 5K pace. The tempo runs specified in this program will help you increase your lactate threshold, or the ability to keep lactic acid from accumulating in your blood cells at higher intensities. In other words, it will help you maintain a faster pace longer.
Long: Most runners are familiar with the long run. Gradually increase distance in the weeks before a race so you are comfortable and confident in your ability to finish. In addition to the psychological improvements, the long run lets your muscles gradually adapt to the longer distances, so you’re less likely to get hurt trying to run much farther than you’ve recently run. The main difference between this program and many others is the recommended pace for these long runs. In some other programs, either long run pace does not matter at all, or you’re told to run at least 1.5-2 minutes per mile slower than race pace. Here, most long runs are run either at or within 30 seconds of race pace. You will finish each workout on pace to hit your goals!
Cross Training: Instead of another 1-3 days of running each week, the FIRST program eliminates those extra “junk” miles and replaces them with cross-training exercises such as biking or swimming. This way, you build just as much cardiovascular fitness without adding unnecessary stress to your body.