Threshold Run vs. Repeats for Novice

Hi All,

I was wondering which of these would be best for a novice (as opposed to complete beginner) alongside aerobic base orientated training.

I'm planning to do something like 1x long aerobic run, 2x short/medium aerobic runs & something anaerobic.

So, would I be better doing a tempo/threshold run or 400m repeats (switching to hill repeats after a few weeks)?

My thoughts are that repeats would be better as they will build strength too.



  • What has worked for me personally is not getting too involved in the structure, what, why and how. What I do instead is, sign up for an event and find an already structured training plan that will take me to that event

    Pre-constructed plans already have all the prescribed elements you need to train specifically for those events.

    For example, I'm following a Bupa training plan for my marathon training and it contains tempo/threshold runs, intervals and hill work right out of the box, mixed with long and easy runs in a nicely balanced way.

    Even if you aren;t training for an event you can still follow the structure as they are also designed to ramp up the activity and intensity levels gradually too.

    Just my £0.02

  • I'm no expert and pretty much rely on my club for my quality sessions but my advice would be to alternate 1 week tempo the next repeats/hills, in my little running experience I've found mixing things up seems to provide me with better performance gains and breaks the routine.

    Club sessions for me tend to alternate between Intervals, Hills and Fartlek, about once a month I add a tempo run in on my own.

  • Also, don't be afraid to change the odd run, sometimes you start a run and think my plan (be it a personal plan, or a plan you've joined) says I have to run this hard, and i feel awful, if so then don't be afraid to get a decent slow run out of it rather than really struggle and make yourself feel awful trying to keep up with a pace that just on that day you cannot do, and the opposite, sometimes it's such a blast to say screw the plan, and just go out and run hard, and just run as far as you feel like it.

    Don't be afraid to experiment I guess I'm trying to say.

  • Just to be clear, a tempo/threshold run is not anaerobic - it's still an aerobic workout.


  • Johnas wrote (see)

    Just to be clear, a tempo/threshold run is not anaerobic - it's still an aerobic workout.


    Yeah of course! Whoops.

    Well, in that case I assume it is best to do repeats then. It might be an idea to alternate a threshold run in place of one of the shorter 'aerobic' runs.

    @ boot & Matty - that's why I don't want to follow a program. It's hard to find one that fits my preferences & I want some flexibility too. I might run longer when I see a new route, or go up a hill or do a couple of sprints. Equally, I might not feel up to repeats or a long run! I run because I enjoy it & I don't want it to feel too regimented. Of course I need it to be structured to progress but I think I've got the basic idea having looked over many programs & talking to friends who run regularly.

    My aim is probably to train for 5ks but that isn't a priority at the moment. I can already run over 5k just I'm not very aerobically fit if that makes sense! I think I'll see marked improvements by focusing on that for a few months. I might even take a liking to longer distances as I get fitter!

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