You’re not going to stick with it if it doesn’t work for you. Here are 5 ways to create a training schedule that helps you meet your goals.
Editor’s note: This is a part of a weekly series featuring training, running and motivational tips from marathoner @trackclubbabe. Tune in every Tuesday for her newest tip.
Incorporate Fast Runs AND Recovery
Run really fast and recover even harder. Once I started incorporating a greater pace delta between my runs I saw more improvement. For example, the delta between my speed/tempo days (4:50 pace – 6:50 pace, depending on the interval) and my easy recovery runs (9:00 – 11:00 pace) is a few minutes. Running easy on my recovery days means my body has more to work with on my fast days.
Your turn: Use a calendar to chart out your easy days and harder days to help you stay accountable. Knowing what workout to commit to will ensure that you’re not a) pushing yourself too hard all the time or b) taking it way too easy and risking a lack of progress.
Decide How Many Days a Week You Want to Train
I used to run seven days a week – sometimes twice a day! Spoiler alert: That let to MAJOR fatigue that took me two years to recover from. TWO YEARS. The secret to getting faster is NOT more miles – it’s the RIGHT amount of miles for YOU. I set a limit for myself of five days a week.
Your turn: Feel it out. Figure out the perfect combo of training and rest days.
Schedule Your Long Runs
You’ll want to set aside one day a week for a longer run (depending on the race you’re training for). I max out at 14 miles for half marathon training and 20 when I’m training for a full marathon. Choose the distance that works for you and get that time on your legs.
Your turn: Pick a day that makes sense for you. If you know your Sundays are packed and it’s unlikely that you’ll muster up the motivation, maybe Saturday’s your perfect long run day.
Don’t Forget About Rest Days
I rest two days a week and love it. I view rest days as filling the tank back up so I can gas out again during my next workout. If I’m constantly emptying the tank I’ll run into problems. Rest days are your friend.
Your turn: Hate resting? Make if fun! Plan a light walk with friends, curl up with your favorite Netflix movie – do what it takes to rest.
Make Time for Speed/Tempo Runs
Adding in a speed workout every week can COMPLETELY change your running. Don’t let it intimidate you. I used to stress out about speed workouts – now they’re my favorite workout of the week and they’re the workouts that get me closer to meeting my goals. If you’ve been doing one speed workout a week for a while, consider adding in a second one. I do two speed workouts per week with varying interval lengths depending on what my goal race is.
Your turn: Embrace speed/tempo runs. Add them to your workout calendar and begin enjoying them.
Bonus! Sample Schedule
This is my typical schedule:
- Monday: Easy recovery run (9:00 – 10:00 minute pace)
- Tuesday: Rest day – If I strength train, it doesn’t involve legs at all
- Wednesday: Speed workout
- Thursday: Easy recovery run
- Friday: Rest day
- Saturday: Speed/tempo run
- Sunday: Long run
Do you have a training schedule in place? Comment and tell us about it.
Author Bio: @trackclubbabe, AKA Kimberly Clark Underwood, started running in 2012 to see if she could train for a marathon & fell in love with running. She went from hoping to run 10 minute miles in the marathon to aiming for a sub 3 marathon. She posts the highs & lows of training + everything that has helped her to improve on her IG.