Organized Training Plan

Hello super incredible fun runners! This is your Road Runners Club of Woodbury weekly run tip. This week I received a request to talk about a topic that was touched on in the tip on how to design your own training plan. The question is “how to get all the different types of training (easy run, tempo run, speed work, hill work, and long runs) in and still get some rest and or cross-training in between. The answer to this is to organize your training. Organization of your training will allow for periods of specific training at specific times. Once you organize your training plan with the amount of miles added, then one can schedule rest and cross training in line with the training program. Lets review the topic of “designing your own training plan”.

Brad Hudson is a running coach that possesses great knowledge on self training plans, and he talks about the three- period training cycles in his book RUN FASTER (Hudson, Fitzgerald, 2008). The phases are designed to organize the different types of training in the correct time period before the race. Each phase will have the specific training run and times for the rest day as well as time for cross training.

The three periods are defined below with an example of a typical training week. Notice that not all specific training runs are included in all three phases. This allows for the extra time for rest and cross training.

Introductory Period

This is the time to get in your miles and build up the endurance needed to train properly for the race. In this period we are gradually increasing the running miles that will match the weekly mileage goal for the training cycle. The main objective is to establish a base that will carry you through more race specific training. Simply put get in your miles in this period.


  • Day-1 easy run
  • Day-2 Hill work
  • Day-3 rest or cross train
  • Day-4 Tempo run easy pace
  • Day-5 Long run 10+ miles.

Fundamental Period

The fundamental period focuses more on race-specific training. In this period your goal is to increase the pace toward race pace. For example if you are training for a six minute pace in the broad street run then your goal might be to run at a 6:30 pace in this period. The idea here is to move gradually to the race pace goal in this period.


  • Day-1 easy run
  • Day-2 Hill work
  • Day-3 Tempo run race pace
  • Day 4 rest or cross train
  • Day-5 easy run
  • Day-6 long run progressive.

Sharpening Period

The sharpening period is the final stage that prepares you to run at your peak level.  The end result of the training cycle is to run at the race pace goal through the entire race. The sharpening period is the time to focus on running your goal race pace. You are now in the stage that will prepare you for the predicted race time finish.


  • Day-1 easy run
  • Day-2 Tempo run race pace
  • Day-3 rest or cross train
  • Day-4 speed work
  • Day 5 easy run
  • Day 6- long run threshold or tempo or progressive.

There are many other training sequences that can be determined. The key is to mix in the right combination that fits your schedule and type of race. The best way to start is to write down your key workouts in the specific training period. Then fill in the open days with easy runs, rest, and cross training. Hope this helps to organize your future trainings.

Remember: Running is one key element for success!

—John Carlson

Happy Running!

Note: Run Faster is a great book to read on developing your own training program.
Hudson, Brad, Fitzgerald, Matt, 2008, Run faster from the 5K to the Marathon
Copyright 2008 by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald.

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