running training plan

What are you training for?

To look good? Feel good?

Get fit? Stay fit?

Run faster? To lose weight?

An effective training programme or schedule needs a clear focus; it needs to be very specific.

If your goal is vague — like those above — your training will be fuzzy or indeterminate too. Define exactly what you are training for. For example: start from a complete beginner to run 5k in 8 weeks from now, or run a marathon in under 3hours 30 minutes, or a top-twenty finish place in a county cross country race. These are reasons for training that will bring into focus your running over the coming weeks, months and even longer.

The efficacy of training is driven by science, but what is often overlooked is that it is also driven by what works for you on an individual level. The science and conventional wisdom might say that to train optimally for a marathon you need to be running 6 long runs of at least 17 miles in your build up. That might work if you are used to running 50+ miles a week, but no good for the runner who is often sidelined on race day through injury. Perhaps for that runner their training should have focussed on strength or running technique rather than running per se.
Think of your training as a wall. Each block in that wall is a crucial element in how you perform as a runner. The blocks will represent many things: endurance, strength, flexibility, weight, mental strength, speed, technique, nutrition, rest, the list is long. Your training should ensure that all the blocks in your wall are securely in place. Of course, your wall will be quite different to another runner's wall, and your marathon wall be different to your 5k wall. But the crucial point is that your training should have a clear purpose and you should be conscious of what you are training for before you devise your schedule and even before you step out of the door for your next session.

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