Q&A: How to Plan Your Training Schedule
What’s a good format for my weekly training schedule?
When planning a weekly running format, there are some key questions to ask yourself before filling in the calendar:
First, which days can you dedicate to running in your current schedule? Sometimes finding the time to get everything done can be difficult, but if you plan ahead it’s much easier to track and meet your goals.
The next question to answer is what you are training for. This can vary from recreational running or your first marathon. A gradual progression is very important from week to week to help meet goals safely and effectively.
Now that you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to build a weekly plan! When developing a weekly plan, here are a few types of runs that should be in everyone’s program:
The first type of training is speed work, with interval training or fartlek training. This type of training consists of short bursts followed by a slower endurance pace. I would start the week off with this type of training while incorporating strength training. Adding in some strength training will complement the type of running you just performed. Focus on full-body movements, single-leg strength training, and linking the kinetic chain.
The next type of run to focus on is a tempo run. When performing a tempo run, you should aim to match your 5K or 10K pace for a distance shorter than that race—for example, four miles at 10K pace. This run should be challenging!
Give yourself a break following these two days with a recovery run. When performing a recovery run, you should feel like you are just getting into a light jog and not putting much stress on the body. Keep the run short and focus on foam rolling, flexibility, and single-leg stabilization exercises to complement. This is the day you can focus on all the little things that need work! Light core exercises grouped with glute stabilization can help prevent injuries down the road.
Finish the week with a long endurance run. This run should be at a half-marathon or marathon pace. This will help maintain your base and build stamina and endurance!
Be smart with your training progressions and listen to your body. Take another day of rest if needed, set attainable goals, and have fun!
About the Author
Jamie Osmak is the Sports Performance Coordinator at Hospital for Special Surgery's James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center and Tisch Sports Performance Center. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, USA Track and Field Level 1 Coach, and corrective exercise specialist with a degree in exercise science from Rutgers University.