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  • Writer's pictureAlexa

The Training Week

Many runners will be familiar with a typical training week, where you have a number of specific runs planned and you often repeat them week on week. I want to explore this pattern a little more and think through the options you have to mix it up a bit!

A weekly repeating format is useful for a few reasons; it’s easy to plan into your week and get into a routine, it’s easy to understand and you can track progress more easily. It might look something like this;

Monday - rest

Tuesday - speed session

Wednesday - "recovery run"

Thursday - hill session

Friday - rest

Saturday - tempo run

Sunday - long run

In this plan you challenge yourself by increasing your speed and total mileage as you build towards a goal. But there are a few things I would like to think about to improve on this method.

Do you have to work in one week blocks? It might work better for you to work in two week cycles, I work with runners who share childcare, work shifts or just don't wnt to be out of the house for a long run every weekend. It works just we well to increase your mileage or speed over two week blocks, and it can allow more time for your body to respond and adapt to training.

Easy/recovery runs; can you cross train instead? If the aim of a recovery or easy run is to ease out muscles or recovery from the other hard sessions, then a swim or bike ride will meet those aims without the additional impact of running further. I very rarely schedule recovery runs for my runners as usually something else suits their goals better.

Strength, balance and coordination work, where does that fit it? Have you got time scheduled to work on the things that improve your running and decrease your injury risk? If you don’t plan them in they often get forgotten!

How to make your run sessions specific; have targets for not only how long the run should be, but for how fast the session, or part of the session should be. Maybe some faster paced miles in the middle of your long run, or pace targets for the tempo. Mix it up, have challenging weeks and easier weeks, change things around; this will make the body become stronger and keep the mind more engaged.

Another thing to think about at the start of a training week is where and when you are going to do your runs. How will they fit around life and work? What do you need to do to make sure they happen? This can be anything and everything from getting childcare agreed to making sure you’ve had enough to eat before the sessions to fuel it. Have a think about where you are going to go. This is important for long runs to make sure you don’t get lost, but mixing up the locations of your runs can keep your mind and body alert and hopefully also make the run more enjoyable. 

Think about when you schedule your rest days, make sure they are after the longest or hardest sessions or sets of sessions across 1-3 days to allow for recovery time. I aim for 2 rest days per week usually. If you move training move the rest too and try not to leave all the training to the end of the week!

Have a think about what you do if things go astray during the week. Don’t try to play catch up on sessions you’ve had to miss, just have in mind the key sessions that week and which you can swap around to keep up the training benefit.

Your weekly plan generally fits into an overall plan that’s building towards something, as a coach I can help with that and how to help you structure your weekly training too. Just contact me to find out more.

Picture of a training plan spreadsheet open on a laptop

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