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Tortoise or the Hare: what type of runner are you?


Posted by Cags R under Running on 26 November 2013 at 12:00 AM

Find pacing a bore? Think running with the pack is holding you back? Well, you are what can be considered a typical Hare! Love plodding at a steady pace? The idea of interval training makes you a little nauseous? Well, you can align yourself with the good ol' tortoise!

Running tortoise or the hare

We've put together these runner profiles in order to help beginner and intermediate runners realize their true running potential (especially for the Challenge run a 5km in under 30 minutes) - no training plan suits every runner, but identifying your running characteristics can point you in the right direction.

Measuring your splits in races or long runs can also help you identify your running style - generally speaking, tortoise runners will have mere seconds between their kilometer splits (depending on the course) whereas hare runners may have big differences in their splits - yet both runners may cross the finish line at the same time!

So how can knowing which type of runner you are help you with your training?


If you know you like to push your limits and then give yourself a little time to recover, then High Intensity Interval Training will really suit your style of running. Equally, fartlek training which is less structured will allow you to play with your speed. One thing to watch for in this type of runner is burn out on event day - you get VERY excited, there's a big crowd, lots of people to try and over take, but if you're not careful, you may hit the wall before the finish line (with little chance of taking a nap under a tree a la the original  hare!)


You like to be comfortable when you run, there's nothing wrong with that, but if you're looking to pick up the pace, it can be harder for the comfortable plodders. A couple of recommendations for increasing your speed if you prefer to run at a consistent pace rather than with interval training would be to decrease the distance in order to build up your speed - a classic example would be running 3km at a faster consistent pace rather than your regular pace for 5km. 

So, which type of runner are you? Do you think you could perform better on race day if you took these tips into consideration?