When I first started running, one of the biggest problems I had was figuring out how to settle into some kind of structured running routine. I couldn’t train by distance because I couldn’t log the miles, but I had near-term goals like a 5k and a 10k. A friend of mine in Santiago recently told me that several years ago, she ran a race that was an Olympic-qualifier. Then, she started her own business, fell off her previous training habits and can barely finish a 5k these days. Granted, she might be quite the exception, but it’s no surprise how easy it is to just lose your running momentum when you miss 2, 3 or even 4 days in a row.
Technically, training plans are only as good as what you make of it. If you plan it and stick to it, you’ll be back on track in no time. I have a few go-to resources for creating a training plan – they’ve never failed me before (unless, I started skipping days). A lot of it is setting the right expectations. I’ve found that the “under-promise and over-deliver” routine works quite well
Cool Running – they have an excellent section about a runner’s “building blocks” that takes you through the basics of hills, tempos, intervals, long slow distance runs, easy runs, and Fartleks. They also plot out a simple running schedule that can help you get to your first 5K (like the one to the left). Remember that these are rough guides – so feel free to adjust them as needed. If you can’t cover the distance, run based on time. Start out with a goal like jogging for 20 minutes. You can even tune it down by alternating between jogging and walking every 5 minutes for 20 minutes!
Runner’s World Smart Coach and Training Calculator – I was so happy to discover this when I trained for the NYC Marathon. Smart Coach allows you to input a training time period and your goal finish time to plot your training schedule. I noticed that it can lean towards a more aggressive assumption about training loads so be careful. The Training Calculator is also good at giving you guidelines for your different training runs.
For example, if I’d like to train for a 42:00 min 10k, my training paces would look like this:
Running Training Plan – this one, I’ve never actually used. Although, I keep coming across it every time I look for resources for more casual runners. It’s the least “technical” out of the 3 and they provide 4 PDF print-outs of their basic beginner training plans for the 5k, 10k, Half, and full marathon.
Do you have your own go-to training plans? Awesome resources for free?
I’ll try and keep adding on to this list as I find more….. who says you gotta pay $30-50 for a marked up training calendar? Now you just gotta buckle down and put these training schedules to good use