Creating a running training programme

At the start of the year, I aimed to get serious about my running. I have been running on and off for around five years, but I have never done anything more than 30+ miles in a training week and never followed a programme or put in any consistent volume. I completed several big races including the 69 mile Rat Race Wall in northern England, the 66km long, 4,400m of accent, Pirin Skyrun in Bulgaria, and the 49km long, 3,600m of accent Matterhorn Ultraks with my relaxed approach. Still, the aim has always been to finish rather than to race.

I decided in December 2019, with the help of a Percy Ceritty book, that if I was going to invest time and energy into doing long mountainous races, then I need to respect them by preparing correctly. I chose the Tromso Skyrun, a beautiful and remote event on the edge of my current ability as my target race and set about getting serious. I set an annual target of 2000 miles and got the five times winner of the event to coach me for the six months leading up to the event (The organisers cancelled it in the end). Jon Albon helped me build a strong running foundation, so after the six months under his coaching ended, I wanted to create my plan for the rest of the year.

Creating a training plan

In the book ‘Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon: How to be your own best coach‘, Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald suggest eight steps to creating your training plan:

  1. Choose a peak race and a race goal
  2. Pick a start date and plan duration
  3. Decide on appropriate running volume, frequency and weekly workout structure.
  4. Divide your plan into introductory, fundamental, and sharpening periods
  5. Plan your peak training week
  6. Schedule tune-up races and recovery weeks
  7. Schedule progressions for intervals workouts, threshold workouts, and long runs
  8. Fill the rest of the schedule

For most people, picking a race and a goal for it in step one is going to be based on an event that gets them excited, but if you are looking for inspiration, check my post from Sunday last week on the progression of a distance runner.

If you want to get faster at running and do not have a coach, you should pick up a copy of Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald’s book. The book is full of useful advice, training plans, and more importantly, guidance on how to adapt a plan for your context and how you react to the training load on a day to day basis.

Contact me on Twitter if you have any questions or want to discuss ideas creating your own running training plan. 

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