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  • Writer's pictureAlexa

Your training week

Updated: Dec 1, 2018

This article is amended from a version first published in the Reading Roadrunners newsletter;

After a few questions from runners recently I thought I’d talk about how to structure your training towards some goals over an eight week period and what that means for the training you do each week.

The eight week training period; this is chosen because 6-8 weeks is the time it takes for the body to adapt to new endurance training. So it’s a good period to plan for if you want to improve an aspect of your running; you’ll be able to see the improvement.

A tip about goals; as tempting as it is to always have races as goals, consider thinking of intrinsic goals too - ones that are more personal and specific to you.

Try and think about one performance goal and one technical goal. For example your performance goal is to improve your endurance by increasing your long run distance, or improving speed by 15 seconds per mile over a certain distance. A technical goal is related to technique, so you could have eight weeks to work on improving the efficiency of your arm swing. A coach can help you identify technical goals to improve your running.

Next have a think about the kind of training that will help you achieve your goals; increasing the distance of your long runs for example. Try to make them specific, measurable and achievable in the eight weeks to help you stick to them.

Then take a look at the next eight weeks, are there holidays or time when you can’t train? Now have a think about scheduling low, medium and high intensity weeks in the plan. Aim to ramp up gradually overall but make sure you have easier weeks in the plan to allow you to recover from and adapt to your training. 

Think about the types of runs you might need to do to meet your performance goal and the other things you need to do to hit your technical goal; exercises, stretching, technique work etc. Layer these on each week of the plan. It might end up looking something like this;

Now it’s time to think about the training week!

The most important thing is that the training week is entirely dependant on you, how you respond to training and how it fits in with all the other important stuff that’s involved in life. Lots of generic running training plans online have 5 runs a week and follow a fairly standard structure, but that might not be right for either your body or your routine.

You know best how many runs a week works for you, whether you want or need to mix it up with other sports and how much time you have for any strength work needed. If you need any advice or support on this just speak to a coach.

Broadly speaking, each week, have a think about the following;

What is your training emphasis for the week? What aspects of your goals are you training towards and how do the sessions for this week build towards them?What runs you are going to do to meet your performance goal - e.g. to build your endurance or speed?What drills, exercises or stretches are you going to do to build towards your technical goal and when are you going to practice your new technique?What other sports do you want to do that week?

Write this up in a table, you can use this one from UK Athletics as a guide if needed. There you go, you have a training plan to improve your running over the next eight weeks!

As always if you have any questions drop me a line on

A coach can quickly and easily put a plan together for you!

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