What’s the best training schedule for running fast?

Fiona Bugler
Feb 2, 2019 · 4 min read
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Schedule Essentials

Whether it’s 5K or marathon running, there really is no one-size schedule that fits all, however, there are some basic principles that do work for all: having a long-term goal (for example, a weightloss target or a race); being consistent in training; and making running a non-negotiable. After that, it’s a good idea to try to vary the pace you run at least once a week, and to shake things up every six weeks or so.

Weekly Planning

Finally, you get to the ‘microcycle’, which is usually a week. When putting together a weekly schedule you will need to consider F.I.T.T. ‘F’ is for frequency of training — i.e. how many times a week you can run. ‘I’ is for Intensity (i.e. long, intervals, threshold, easy). ‘T’ is for the length of time, for example an hour. And finally, ‘T’ is for the type of session — are you going to cross train, go to classes, or is it all running? It really is a case of deciding how often you’re going to run, how you’re going to mix it up, how long you’re going to spend doing it — then doing it.

Variety Show

It’s the ‘I’ that causes the most debate when it comes to running schedules, i.e. striking a balance between volume (slow) and intensity (fast). However, before worrying about this, it’s worth bearing in mind that the general consensus is that most recreational runners make the mistake of running too much in the ‘grey’ area, i.e. too fast at one set, flat, ‘moderate’ pace which inevitably leads to boredom, as well as ‘flat-lining’ in fitness terms. It doesn’t have to be complicated, slow down on your slow runs and speed up on your intervals. And remember you’ll improve your overall performance and are more likely to stick to your plan if you change your focus every six to eight weeks.

Don’t Push — Make it Fun

Julie Creffield was 20st when she first started training and admits inconsistency and unrealistic targets were her downfall. She applied a yo-yo diet approach to her running, doing a long run on Sunday then taking a week to recover, in other words it wasn’t sustainable. After some false starts, she learnt that joining a club and running with others, and getting into a flexible and varied routine, running for time, not distance, made a difference.

Endurance Women

Ordinary Women Being Extraordinary

Fiona Bugler

Written by

Writer and editor, specialising in health, fitness, and wellbeing. Runner & Ironman triathlete. Publisher of the Zone mag, i-wellbeing.com linktr.ee/fionabugler

Endurance Women

Ordinary Women Being Extraordinary

Fiona Bugler

Written by

Writer and editor, specialising in health, fitness, and wellbeing. Runner & Ironman triathlete. Publisher of the Zone mag, i-wellbeing.com linktr.ee/fionabugler

Endurance Women

Ordinary Women Being Extraordinary

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