Developing a training plan

Components of a Training Plan:

When developing a training plan for a race there are key components that need to be in place but every plan is individual to you, depending how long you have been running, your injury history, your goals, how much time you have to train, what other sports you partake etc. Rather than give plans for marathons, 10ks etc for you to blindly follow instead, listed below are the component parts. If you want to develop a plan then use these components and always feel free to discuss with Club Coaches Nigel Crompton or Rob Beech.

LSR: Each week you should do a long (slow) run at conversational pace (you can carry on a conversation all the way round). The length depends on your goals. If you are training for a marathon you will be aiming to get up to 20 – 23 miles for your long run. Build up distances conservatively and as a rule of thumb increase by only 10% per week. It is wise to have a slightly shorter long run every third or fourth week. The training runs at the club on a Sunday morning are ideal for building your long run around. You can start with 7, build to 8 or 10 miles using our established routes or combine two loops to go longer. There is also a group who ‘go long’ earlier on a Sunday morning (contact Rob Beech).

Hill sessions: While it is always good to build hills into your other sessions this is a structured hill repeats session. It can be long hills (+400 metres), medium hills or hill sprints. Different sessions build different aspects of what is required for an endurance runner. Hills build power, speed (hills are speedwork in disguise) good running form and endurance. No elite athlete goes without regular hill training. There are regular hill training sessions at the club on a Tuesday evening (contact Nigel Crompton).

Speedwork:  If you want to get faster you have to go faster! If you just keep training at one pace all the time you will reach a plateau where you will not improve. You will develop your Type 1 (slow twitch) muscle fibres but with speedwork you can mobilise and develop fast twitch  fibres which will aid your speed endurance capabilities. Speedwork comes in a variety of sources. Fartlek session where you ‘play’ wit speed, interspersing fast segments of running (to the next lampost for example) into your regular runs. Hill sessions which are speedwork in disguise(see above) or structured speed sessions with hard efforts interspersed with regular recovery intervals. Different sessions focus on different requirements.

Steady runs / Bridging runs / tempo sessions: One run, at least, should be a steady state run -run at the same pace through the session. Early on these can e thought of as bridging runs – bridging the gap between your long run and your speedwork and shorter runs e.g. If your long run is 15 miles and your speedwork amounts to about 5 miles then your bridging run is about 8 – 10 miles. Later on these become your tempo runs. Just below race pace. Maintaining effort throughout. In the peaking phase of training (just before a race) these may become your ‘pace runs’ where you are running at race pace (albeit at shorter distances)

Recovery runs: These are important runs done, perhaps, a day after a hard session, speed work or LSR. You should feel better at the end of the run than before. An easy paced run (NOT a jog) of about 3 0r 4 miles to shake off the legs.

Other Considerations:

  • Always progress gradually. General rule is 10% per week increase
  • Reduce overall mileage and intensity a little (10 – 15%) every 3rd or 4th week
  • Don’t be tempted once setting out on a plan to just keep pushing further and faster if it feels good. That’s when injuries happen.
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Follow a good diet
  • Don’t taper. Endurance runners don’t taper. They peak. Overall distance is reduced only by about 10% on the last 2 weeks. Keep up speedwork (although maybe reduce overall volume)
  • Move your steady runs and shorter runs to ‘pace runs’ in the final weeks. Practice your race pace – albeit at shorter distances. Teach your body to run at that speed.