About Running Training Plans


Let’s talk about training plans. If you do an Internet search for “running training plans,” you will get a lot of hits. You can also find running coaches who will customize a training plan for you. Many of these coaches will coach you online, but if you want a running coach in person, you can ask your local running friends for recommendations. I have used many online running plans and the Couch to 5K app on my smartphone. What I found that works for me may not work for you. I am very goal-oriented, so working on my own with an online training plan has been a good fit for me. I have also worked with a running coach locally to help me with speed and pace. If you need accountability, you probably want to look for a local running coach or a good running friend who will keep you motivated. You might find a running group that will help you with your training plan. You will need to find a running group with a pace close to yours. I have found that there is a big difference in running groups, and I tend to run slower than some of the running groups do for their group runs. Their conversational pace is my heavy-breathing pace. There is no right or wrong way to set up a training plan, if you stick to it and have reasonable goals.


After I completed the Couch to 5K training plan, I switched to a free online plan. I like Hal Higdon’s training plans. I have used his plans for both the half marathon and full marathon distances. I also like Jeff Galloway’s methodology of alternating running and walking, which is called intervals. When I first started running, I ran three days a week. As I was building speed and endurance, I added an additional day of running. Before my one-year anniversary as a runner, I was running every day. The number of miles varied. My speed varied. I would run on different types of terrain. I did speed work at a college track. I wanted to stay healthy and injury-free. I ran outside most days. I only ran on treadmills when I was out of town. I found that I loved being outdoors, no matter what the weather was. I ran in snow in the winter. I ran through the pollen of the spring. I ran through the heat and humidity of the summer. I ran in the cool of the fall. I enjoyed facets of each season.


In my first year of running, I trained for a 5K, a 10K, and a half-marathon. I completed all three distances in less than twelve months of when I started running. The second year, I raced more and worked on endurance and speed. I participated in a racing series that built from a 5K to a half-marathon over the course of a few months. It was a great way to extend my distances each week. I ran very strong during the whole series. I made some great running friends in the process. By signing up for the race series, I was committed to running certain distances each week, and it helped keep me motivated.


After this series, I switched gears from racing to training for a full marathon. I had wanted to do a marathon for a while, but I knew it would take more time each week to increase my long runs on the week-ends. I started training in the fall, which I think is a great time to increase mileage. I also factored in the run streak I was on to include one mile days on the days the training plan called for a rest day. Run streaks a not for everyone, but I enjoyed running so much that it just became a part of my daily activities. Some of my local running friends ran with me on my long runs. It helped a lot to have the company since I usually train alone. Training for a marathon is both physical and mental. I worked on both of these.


The length of time I run each day varies. Some days, I do a quick one mile run. An average running day for me is a 5K. I also do a warm-up walk and a cool-down walk, so I average four miles on those days. I also do hill training and have longer runs in my current training plan and am working on increasing my long runs again. I dropped back on my distances in the months after I completed my first marathon. I have completed two marathons and am training for marathon number three. My next big goal is to complete a 50K (31 miles). I run almost every day and do some cross-training to help me achieve my goal.


Another big decision for a runner is when to fit in running with a busy schedule. I have found that it is easiest for me to run early in the morning before anyone else is awake in my house. I get up before sunrise and am usually outside to enjoy the sunrise each morning. This has been the best way for me to stay consistent with my training. When I first started running, I ran in the evenings after dinner, but this was increasingly difficult during the winter months. When I switched to early morning running, I found my groove. Many of my running friends fit in running at work on their breaks or lunch hour. I think that takes a lot of commitment and dedication to training, but it allows them to have more time with their families when they are at home. You can try running at different times of the day to find the right time for you. I once raced in a 5K at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I also ran at 4:00 in the morning before a trip. So I have tried a lot of different times for my running. It is a personal decision that you can make as you try different times of the day to run. You will find your groove.


Finding places to run can be a lot of fun. I run on lots of different surfaces and terrain from trails to asphalt to gravel roads and sidewalks. I also wear different types of shoes on different terrain. I have found places to run in several different states when we travel, and I have found many nice places to run in my local area. I am a part of some local running groups, and we share information on places we find to run. Most of my running takes place close to home, but I like to switch it up for variety and to challenge my skills.


Since I run trails, I bought a specific pair of running shoes for trails. They have a deeper tread to grip the ground better. I have shoes that work well on asphalt or concrete. They have smaller grooves on the bottom and more cushion on the inside. I wear them when I run on gravel, but not often. I think the trail shoes work better on gravel, but they slow me down. The best thing I did in choosing my running shoes was to go to a store that specializes in fitting running shoes. I got the type of shoes made for my running stride and ankles. This is very important if you are going to run often. One pair of running shoes lasts me for about 500 miles. I have an app on my phone that tracks that for me.


Breathing is a big part of running and training. I have had to relearn breathing techniques to help me when I run. I have had to learn to relax my shoulders and breathe from my diaphragm. I have asthma, so I spent several months learning what worked for me to run consecutively and breathe properly. There are videos and tutorials online to help you learn proper breathing techniques. Your posture during your running also effects your breathing, so it might seem like a lot to learn at first. You will get better at it the more you practice. I ran a personal best in a 5K race with severe bronchitis and wheezing because I knew how to breathe around it.


My running journey has been amazing. I have learned a lot about how strong I am.


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About Tami

Tami Fox is a homeschool mom of 6, who in age from 26 to 11. She and her husband have homeschooled for 17 years and have graduated three of their children from their homeschool. They are currently homeschooling 3 boys who are in grades 11, 9, and 6. They use hands-on learning and unit studies to ignite the fire of learning in their children. Tami is a homeschool author and conference speaker. You can contact her by email at Tami@TamiFox.com. Buy her book, Giving Your Children Wings at https://tamifox.net/giving-your-children-wings/.

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