How to Set a Running Plan to Win Big

There are many reasons to set a running goal – a race with friends, a race to support a cause, or a race just because you’ve always wanted to do one. The key in choosing your event and being successful at it is to create a plan. More than just logging in the miles, having a plan guides you on your path to success. Whether it’s attaining a PR (Personal Record), achieving a new distance, or running your first race ever, your plan will get you to your finish line, healthy and prepared.

What is a healthy running plan?

Your plan should consist of easy running days, quality workouts, and long runs. Know the commitment level of your distance goal. It’s all about adapting your body, both the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, to the stresses that come with running. This is a gradual process as your body adjusts to the many miles and varying intensities that you’re training for.

Be realistic

A healthy, balanced training plan should allow for life balance. Learning the time commitment it takes can be daunting, but it is possible. Factoring in work and family responsibilities into your schedule is also important. The number of days to train will vary from person to person. So please don’t try to compare yourself to elite athletes or your running buddy who has a different schedule from yours.

A Typical Training Week

Your Goal & Training Times

4-8 weeks (running 4-5 days a week)

8-10 weeks

13.1 miles (Half Marathon)
12-14 weeks (you should have already run at least 5 miles before you begin your training)

26.2 miles (Marathon)
6 months to train for your first marathon (distance goal, running 3-5 days a week and 2 days of cross-training)
Strength training is also recommended to continue to maintain posture and stability in the hips and knees.

Monday: Quality run + strength workout in a class
Tuesday: Cross-train (strength) + stretch (try that yoga class you’ve been eyeballing)
Wednesday: Quality run + strength workout in a class
Thursday: Short (recovery) run
Friday: Cross-train (strength) + stretch
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Rest day/active recovery. Stretch. Roll it out. Go on a walk with the family.

Seek Expert Help

We recommend hiring a coach to assist you in finding your life balance and avoid overtraining. This is common when one isn’t scheduling enough recovery time, which includes rest days and sleep. Your plan can also be modified to ensure that you’re covering enough distance to meet your goal.

Meet the Coaches

Jenn Semsey swam and ran throughout high school and college. She stuck with 5Ks and Sprint Triathlons for several years, and completed her first marathon in 2005. Since then she has completed 20 endurance events including half marathons, marathons, ultramarathons, a 50-mile ultra marathon, and a half Ironman. She became a running coach in 2013. Jenn feels that goal setting is personal and anything is possible with a great attitude and flexibility within your plan. The hard work will pay off and any finish line is within your reach.

Ashley Snyder began her running journey when her mother signed her up for a mud run as a bonding experience. Since that first race, when she was covered in mud, grass, and rocks, she was hooked! She has since run short and long courses with races that involve food, mud, or obstacles. Ashley is an experienced coach in running (short and long distance), cycling, triathlons, and strength training. She believes that training should be as fun as it is challenging.

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