Whether you are training for a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon or even an ultra marathon, using a running program is the most efficient way to train for your event. Using a running program, properly prepares you for an event and decreases the chance of over training or injury.
Here you will find some generic running programs. These are provided as a guide only and you can modify to suit your needs.
Not everybody has the time to train 4 to 5 times a week and to try and cover everyone’s abilities from beginners to professionals would require many programs. So we have selected programs for each distance based on an “intermediate” runner who can train 4 to 5 times per week. There is no one training program that is right for all runners so just test and adjust to work for you.
The majority of your training is likely to be comprised of easy runs. The purpose is to fully develop your aerobic fitness and then maintain it. Easy running is running at a comfortable, conversational pace. Your heart rate is around 75% of maximum. A GPS watch or heart rate monitor can be an effective way to monitor your pace or effort while performing an easy run. Make an effort to feel what an easy pace feels like and train your body to be comfortable getting into rhythm at the slower pace. This may require you having to consistently monitor your pace and making a concerted effort to slow down often. It will become easier with experience.
Steady runs (or stamina workouts) are medium paced runs. The aim is to develop your ability to run a steady pace for long periods of time. This will increase your lactate threshold pace which leads to faster race times. The challenge with steady running is to keep from running too fast. These are moderate effort runs and going faster does little but shorten the amount of time that you are in the correct zone. Challenge yourself to go longer at a given pace rather than faster.
These runs are an excellent way for runners to build speed and strength. They’re runs that are done at an effort level, usually just a little slower than your race pace but faster than steady. Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic or lactate threshold, which is critical for running faster.
There are several types of speed training. Speed sessions aren’t about sprinting flat out. They’re about controlling hard efforts and spreading your energy evenly over a set distance or time. Some types of speed training you can include in the training programs, where it states speed are:
Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’ and is the fun side of speedwork. Best done on grass or trails, you simply mix surges of hard running with periods of easy running. Run fast bursts between phone boxes, lampposts or trees when you feel like it, and as hard and fast as you like. Great for newcomers to speedwork.
These are longer than ordinary intervals in that they take between 90 seconds and 10 minutes (or between 400m and two kilometres) and are run a little slower than your race pace. These work a bit like threshold runs – they raise the point at which lactic acid builds up in the muscles.
Periods of hard face pace running between 200m and 1200m in length, or 1-5 minutes. Recovery periods can be short (30-90 seconds), or of an equal time or distance to the reps. Running at harder than race pace for short periods not only improves speed, but also allows you to work on your running form. When you’re pushing hard, it’s important to concentrate on things like arm and hand motion, posture and stride length. If you can keep these together during a hard session of reps, it will be easier to do so during a race. Don’t attempt reps until you’ve tried other types of speedwork for a couple of months.
Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don’t ignore rest days. Your muscles build and repair themselves during your rest days. So if you run every day, you won’t see much improvement.