Running Training Schedules
A well designed running training schedule is a balancing act. It takes into account numerous factors to give you a plan to perform at your best while minimizing your risk of injury.
There are many great running training schedules available in books , magazines and online. However one thing every runner should do is customize the schedule they choose to fit into their personal circumstances.
Blindly following a generic schedule could be disastrous. If a schedule is too aggressive with either too much volume or too much intense training, your body will break down and not be able to recover. Poor performance or injury is the result.
A schedule may also be too easy. In this case, injury isn't likely but neither is your optimal performance. However if I were to err on one side, I'd rather come into a race undertrained than overtrained.
Running Schedules & the Performance Pyramid
Remember again the Performance Pyramid I've discussed in the Running Training section. Your running training schedule needs to account for the different levels of skills you need to run your best.
During different phases of your training you'll be emphasizing different skills from the three levels of the pyramid.
Some phases of training may emphasize Technical Skills such as running economy, other phases may focus on various Fitness Skills such as VO2 max. or lactate threshold or strength.
A big mistake many running training schedules make is they overemphasize the Fitness Skills level and don't provide enough training in Fundamental Movement Skills or Technical Skills for runners.
By ignoring these crucial elements your schedule become unbalanced and your risk of injury increases while your performance decreases.
Over the last 10 years I've worked with over 350 runners and triathletes from beginners to elite level. One thing I've seen is that virtually every one of them needed work on Fundamental Movement Skills. They had some problems with joint mobility or stability that created inefficiencies in their running making them more susceptible to injury and limiting their performance.
The elite level runners generally had better Technical Skills than beginners or average runners. But with problems in their Fundamental Movement Skills they could still improve their technique after improving their mobility and stability.
Periodization of Training
The method of structuring your training into different phases is called periodization. This concept defines how you build your schedule to peak for an event or a series of events (i.e. a racing season).
For example, a common marathon training schedule usually has a base building phase, hill training phase and finally a speed phase to peak for your marathon.
As I mentioned above, many running training schedules neglect some key areas of training. CoreRunning.com will give you the tools you need to balance out any running training schedule. You'll learn how to train to develop better Fundamental Movement Skills as well to improve your Technical Skills.
In the articles below I'll give you information to help structure your training for various racing distances as well as give you some good schedules to use a template you can customize.