A Well Balanced Training Plan

A wide variety of running workouts make up a well-balanced training program. People shop for a wide variety of foods to make up a healthy balanced diet. Education consists of a multitude of different subjects to properly feed the brain. The running plan as well needs to come from a wide variety of specific endurance movements to balance the training process. The well balanced training plan focuses on all the racing needs such as speed, endurance and rest coming together in a nice weekly package. The following is a summary of specific endurance runs that are typical in a well-balanced training plan. We will conclude with an example of seven day week training plan that is balanced.

Foundation run: These runs make up the majority of the miles within a training week at the beginning of the training period. I call these your staple runs or the 4-10-milers that are ran at normal pace within your aerobic capacity. That would consist of a moderate pace, but not a tempo or speed. Spending ample time within your aerobic zone promotes a healthy balance of fat and glycogen energy burn. Also, since the intensity is medium, recovery is minimal and your body has the opportunity to adapt quickly within this movement.

Long runs: The long run is responsible for building security in the foundation of the body. The inserted diligence of properly holding longer periods engaged in running produce substantial endurance. Long runs typically range anywhere from 12 to 30 miles, which provide a long list of training benefits that prepare you well for the demands of endurance events. Long runs increase running economy for the short race as well as a must for the marathoner to the ultra. Long runs also produce a more comfort level in shorter distant running.

Speed Work:  Interval workouts, which are most commonly done on an outdoor track, also can be done on a measured road, have a wide range of frequency, and distances. Work outs include sprints, 200M, 400m, 800m, 1600m and mixture of all in ladder form. Speed work is performed at a shorter distance and faster pace. The goal is to increase our VO-2 max. VO-2 max is simply the body’s ability to convert oxygen into energy more efficiently. This action helps the heart deliver more oxygen while the leg muscles increase their efficiency in using this added oxygen. This process is also called the maximum oxygen uptake. Bottom line: the better the VO-2 max the faster and longer a runner can go in a race. The more oxygen your muscles are able to consume while engaged in the run, the stronger the energy levels are put into the muscles allowing the body to move faster and longer in distance.

Hill Training –The strength training for runners. Hill training also serves as an injury preventer due to the fact that it promotes strength in the legs and hip area. Hills are one of the most effective running workouts for overall strength and speed development.  They simultaneously work your heart, lungs and legs in a way that no other workout can. Hill training engages the fast twitch muscles, which is responsible for speed and muscular strength. Fighting the law of gravity implements a quiet struggle uphill producing a heavier load on the body, which promotes the growth of the leg muscles. This action produces a smoother stronger stride.  Two benefits that surface are increased speed, while decreasing in chances of injury.

Tempo runs: Which include threshold capacity runs. The art of holding a predicted or race pace or faster pace at a period of time and or mileage. When performed correctly, these teach a runner‘s brain and body to sustain aggressive speeds for prolonged periods. Threshold training is to aid the runner in holding a faster pace at a longer distance. The goal of this workout is to accomplish a pace that is at the lactate threshold. Without getting too scientific in our calculations this pace falls between you 10k race pace and half-marathon race pace. Adding 20 seconds on your fastest 5k pace is close to the mark. I like to explain to a runner that it is a pace that is tough enough to feel like you’re struggling, but can hang on. Another words you will not die. The threshold workout will prepare a runner to hold a faster pace at longer distances. These workouts should last a minimum of 20 minutes, which fall in the center of a warm-up and a cool down. The sessions should be a minimum of four miles. This workout is performed once a week, usually mid-week so there is plenty of time to rest before your weekly long run.

Easy Run – the easy run or recovery run is a slow and low impact fun run that are placed between hard days. The key to growth in running is rest and recovery. We break down and challenge our bodies with intense workouts, then repair and promote strength with the rest. The easy run is just as important as the intense specific endurance run. Go out at an enjoyable slow pace with low mileage promoting recovery and repair. Great care must be taken to properly warm up and keep the pace down throughout the entire run. Following up with gentle stretching routine can be of great benefit to loosen things up as well.

Race Pace – A good coach will always say “towards the end of your training mimic your race.” Another words practice the pace that you plan to hold during the event you are training for. The goal of running your race pace is two-fold, one it delivers the power of a tempo run. Two, it prepares your body and mind for the pace to be held in the race.

Example Week Training Plan:

Monday-5mile easy/ Tuesday 7mile Hill training/ Wednesday 5mile foundation run/Thursday 8mile tempo/Friday 7mile speed/ Saturday 10mile easy/ Sunday 15mile long run.

Go out and put in a balanced plan. Adapt to changes along the way until the plan fits your level of fitness and the race distance.


Happy Running!

John Carlson
Coach RRCW