While running seems like a reasonably straightforward sport, there are different types of running.
One of the most common types of running is called road running. It covers running on paved roads, paths, and sidewalks. It’s the most convenient type of running and the type that most runners participate in at some point in their training. It is also one of the easiest ways to start your running program—all you have to do is step out your door and get moving.
A great option for running outside is treadmill running. Running on a treadmill is a clever choice if the weather is bad. But this type of running is simpler than outdoor running and can be gentler on your joints.
Most treadmills allow runners to change their speed, incline, and resistance so they can simulate outdoor running and vary their workouts to prevent boredom. You can even run a race on a treadmill using an app like Zwift.
Some runners enjoy the thrill and competition of participating in races, on roads, trails, and tracks. Racing events vary in distance from 5Ks to half or full marathons and even ultramarathons lasting 100 miles or more.
The huge bulk of people enter races not to win, but to set a personal goal and achieve it. Many former couch potatoes have become hooked on the sport after training for their first road race.
For those who love to enjoy scenery and peaceful surroundings while exercising, trail running is a great option. Trail running usually takes place on hiking trails of varying terrain, from deserts to mountains. Trail runners may find themselves sidestepping roots, climbing over logs, running through streams, or traversing up steep hills.
Track events include shorter distance races such as the 50-yard dash, 100, 200, and 400-meter sprints, hurdles, and others. Training to run track often includes doing more targeted speed work and less endurance running outdoors.
You can also compete in races. Track races can be as short as 55 meters (indoor tracks) and as long as 25 laps on 10,000 meters (outdoor track)
Some road and trail runners like running on a track occasionally for safety and comfort. On a track, you don’t have to worry about cars, cyclists, or animals, and it’s easy to measure how far you’re running.
The track is also a great place for runners who are training for races to work on targeted speed workouts once you're ready to pick up the pace. Try a session on your local community or high school track.