Choosing The Right Training Plan

Runner's looking for training plans are faced with the problem of too much choice. There is no shortage of training programs whether you are training for a 5k, half or full marathon. A simple search will provide you with many different options to choose from. Most programs will have a beginner, intermediate, and advanced training plan.

Depending on your running expreience different programs will appeal to you. Some programs will require a lot more time and effort than others. How do you know which program is right for you?

The first thing you need to do is decide which event that you will be training for. Know that if you are looking at training for a marathon your training will start at least 4 months out from race day. Once you know when your race is than you can ask yourself a few questions.

How many miles a week are you currently running?

Know where you are starting at with your mileage. A longer race will require more mileage per week. If you are a new runner pick a program that eases you into the longer distances. If you are a seasoned runner than you can handle more mileage right away.

What is the weekly mileage for the program?

The total mileage will vary by program and again you need to have a clear understanding of where you are physically as a runner. Lower weekly mileage is better for beginner runners which veterans can handle more each week.

How many weeks is the training plan?

If you are training for a marathon and this is your first one the 4 month training plan is probably not enough for you. Depedning on your base training will determine the length of the training plan appropriate for you.

How many long runs are in the plan?

Seasoned runners should except a few weeks of longer runs in their training. Beginning runners should have 1 or 2 peak mileage weeks. Training should improve your fitness, not wear you out.

Does the program include speed training?

The program should include tempo runs, intervals or Fartlek. Based on your experience you should have at least one speed workout a week.

How many days a week are you running?

Beginners should be running 3-4 times a week, intermediate should be running 4-5 times and advanced runners should be running 6-7 times a week.

What cross-training is included?

The program should incorporate biking, elliptical training, strength training, rowing and other activites. Cross-training should be done 1 or 2 days.

Does the program include intenstiy?

Workouts should be described as easy, moderate, or hard runs. The intensity of the workout will be based on your pace.

Once you determine what your goal race is going to be and understand where you are at in your running experience the next step is to ask yourself these questions when looking for the right training program for you.