How To Develop a Training Plan for Running?
Creating a training plan for running is not easy, even if you are an experienced athlete: it can be very difficult to optimise your efforts, given the wide range of variables and diverse personal characteristics.
This often requires a “fluid” approach, where metrics are monitored over a period of time and changes are made (or not) based on the data. A solid running training plan, tailored to your goals and needs, can help you not only improve but also maintain a healthy lifestyle.
OK, but how do you create a training plan without a coach? On a theoretical level it seems simple, but how to deal with the details?
We have used years and years of racing experience to answer this question. We are sure to give you good advice.
1. Before getting started: How to define goals?
The most important thing is to be realistic. Analyse your most recent achievements, your current health status and your future training programme, then set a goal that will challenge you, but also be a launching pad to reach bigger goals in the future.
2. What needs to be considered when drawing up a training plan for running?
Look at your usual week. What are the best days for a long run? Fit a long run into your week and then take the next day off. The day after your day off you will be rested, and you can focus on repetitions or specific training.
In other words, your training should be organised around your normal life.
3. What are the issues to be taken into account, apart from distance?
This question offers an incredible variety of answers, depending on fitness, health and needs. If you use a sports watch, you can monitor your speed, heart rate, cadence and measure how your body responds to training.
Moreover, success over any distance requires endurance. For this reason, one idea could be to have the long race during the weekend and include a mid-distance race in the middle of the week. When you can do all this without discomfort and with good energy, then it’s time to add specific training, such as sets.
If you are not a professional runner, it is better to work on your running pace rather than thinking about increasing it.
In short, first lay the foundations and then work to improve yourself.
4. How should heart rate and running power be included into a training plan?
A coach always has a system for testing their runner: what is the threshold, VO2 max, running cadence, etc. But if you are your own coach, then everything changes.
Here are some tips:
- Do a weekly run where the heart rate is kept in the same zones and compare the pace.
- Run at a certain speed, several times over several days, and then compare the heart rate data (obviously the aim is to lower the heart rate at the same speed)
5. How to check if the training plan is bringing benefits?
First: don’t stress. It is essential to plan training that is achievable, without anxiety.
Within the week, it is best to include a rest day after your most impactful run, a cross-training day to clear the mind and body, and different types of recovery. This may include massages, ice baths and stretching.
6. ¿Cómo comprobar si el plan de entrenamiento está aportando beneficios?
Health is the first thing to be taken into account. If you are well and are feeling well, then you are on the right track. Then we need to understand how our body reacts to the load: sleep quality, appetite, resting heart rate.
Only at the end will you analyse your performance, i.e., whether you are also improving.
7. What is the necessary tool?
A multisport watch is without doubt an indispensable tool for those who want to run and create their own training plan. Either at the beginning, when you don’t know your own rhythm very well (this also being a great help to be able to see your improvements) or later on, when you are training to gradually run faster and faster.