Running Training Plans: From Beginner to Expert


race training

Although I am just posting this, I have started to think about running a bit more over the past month, and cross training a little less to get ready for my upcoming marathon training schedule.  Saying “marathon training schedule” sounds super rigorous but it really isn’t any more than planned increases in distance and slowly building up to the long run.

I don’t want to take away from the accomplishment- because it does take dedication and time, but before you say that you could never do this, I am living proof that anyone can do this barring injury… so that is my goal this year: Not to just do it, but to do it so that I feel good after it’s over and not injured for the following months!

My outlook on life in general is “moderation in all things” as the best bet for healthy living and healthy mind, so this is no exeption.  The marathon training can push this a bit toward the “too much of a good thing” side of the scale, so I have to keep focused on keeping that balance by cross training and having active-rest days (read: PIYO!) to prevent both burn-out and injury.

My own plan is a major mix-up of several plans but I really just use them as a guide, and try to keep the week-long miles on target, instead of worrying about following it true to the day by day plan.

Here are a few that I know lots of runners follow and are from authorities in the area of running and race training:

Hal Higdon
(FREE) All levels of programs, easily adaptable. Has an app for your phone and an interactive site. I am still a novice runner with this plan, as I don’t like to add too many miles, as it seems to not work for me.  I like the flexibility and growth in these plans the best.

Cool Running
(FREE)All levels of training.  Authority on races, events around the country to participate in and work up to with their various programs.

Runner’s World Training Plans
These are pay-for plans…I am not into that, but if you are good with paying, they offer apps, daily emails to keep you on track, and lots of options, like “beat 5 hours for your first marathon” that are unique.

Jeff Galloway Plans
(FREE) Wonderful for a beginning runner, or someone who wants to avoid injury.  You can run/walk a marathon without injury according to his plans. Last year when I was fighting through injury, I loved his philosophy.

What to look for in a plan:

I know people who look for marathon training come from all levels, so I won’t pretend to know the best program out there- nor will I create one for you…everyone has to trial and error their own way through a given program and even then, adapt that one program to what is best for their own body.  I am a firm believer in listening to your own body and pushing it when you can and resting it to let it recover and build strength.

There is so much information out there (so much of it worthless but pretending to be the “one” best way to do something) that to give you just one recommendation would be just wrong! When you look for a plan, make sure it is from an expert, not an enthusiast.  The difference is that an expert is a fitness professional who is trained in the field and has some kind of  certification in coaching (like the RRCA- Road Runners Club of America or some other reputable association).  An enthusiast is someone like me, that loves to run, but doesn’t have the background in training.

You wouldn’t be a Librarian just because you like books, any more than a running expert just because you like to run…I have to emphasize this, because it is so important with Google just spitting out information. Ex. You search “running plans” and you get tons of garbage…just buyer-beware! Only follow a plan from an authority with the certifications. (*Also, you should always check with your health professional to make sure you are starting from a healthy place and able to train for a race.)

Whatever plan you follow, just enjoy the process and listen to your body.  Best of training and Happy Tuesday!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for the BolderBand- my no-barrette hero! It is open to anyone over 18 years of age in the US, up until 11:59pm EST 6/17.  That is tomorrow!!! Get on it! Giveaway is Over.

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P.S.S. I added a Race Page to this blog to keep track of my upcoming and previous races- I like doing a race more than once, to see how I have improved over time, so I think this year I am repeating a half marathon that I did last year, and doing a new marathon this fall.  I love love love running with my friends, so if any of you are near the Boston or Providence areas for races, let me know because I am always up for adding another few races before mid-August!

2 thoughts on “Running Training Plans: From Beginner to Expert

  1. fitfoodiemama

    My marathon training plan is a mix of running and strength training. So far it has worked for me…my goal is just not to burn out or get injured. Oh, and finish 🙂

  2. Pingback: Menu Plan Monday & Running Fun-day! | Hardly A Goddess

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