When planning towards a goal, most coaches will advise building specifically towards a goal over a certain period of time. But what should you do if you've got a race further away than this? If you have some extra time, think of this as time to work on your baseline fitness before focusing on that specific goal. Although you may be itching to get started, we don't want you to peak too early; we want your training to be sustainable, enjoyable and help you to reach that PB.
Firstly, it's important to recognise there are a number of different factors that should play a part in deciding how to plan for such a goal. Our ethos as coaches is to ensure that you love your training. The key to achieving anything amazing, is consistent training and being passionate about it. So as a result it's key that you reflect on the way in which training will make you happiest.Think ahead around key dates like birthdays, trips or Christmas and think if these are going to affect your training. Do you want to be training through them or maybe you'll want to use these days as easier training days and start your plan sooner? Some of us like to turn up the intensity for a shorter period of time switching off totally between goals whereas some of us like to build up gradually year on year always in the flow of training. Neither is wrong, neither is necessarily better but like we said, workout what will make you happiest and then from there we can identify the best strategy from where you are now. If you have just a few weeks spare, you can start a different plan and then go onto the plan for your specific goal. If you have all the time in the World, you have the opportunity to get a couple of plans under your belt. You can switch plans any time.
5k and 10k
We have an 8 week 5k plan and 10 week 10k plan. Within both of these plans you will have a lot of flexibility with what to do prior to starting either of them. A 5K or 10k are great distances if you're new to running and looking to take on your first race or if you're an experienced runner looking to knock some time off your personal best. If you're starting to get into your running, we would recommend starting with the 'New to running plan'. If you're looking to work on your baseline fitness/maintenance, we would recommend our 'Get fit' or 'Maintenance plan'. These plans have a balance of endurance and speed work; both of which will prepare you nicely for your 5k or 10k training plan.
Half Marathon, Marathons and Ultra Marathons
Firstly we'd suggest deciding the length of time you want to train specifically towards the your long distance goal. For example, if you are the type of person to get bored training for one thing for a long time we'd suggest going for the 12 week marathon option. However if you think a longer and steadier journey is for you then go for the 16 weeks.Then comes working out what to do before that. Some options are: working on speed to try to run a faster 5k, or choose a complimentary goal (E.g a 10k plan before starting a half marathon plan or half Marathon before starting a marathon plan) and train towards that. Or for those of you wanting to extend the prep without having any specific goals to work on, we'd recommend looking at our 'Running Maintenance Plan', 'Get Fit Plan', or our 'Pre Marathon Baseline Plan' - all of which will generally improve your running. By following plans beforehand, it will allow you to become stronger at the start of your plan, allowing to you perform better on the big day 12/16 weeks away. On top of these plans, you can also add strength workouts, which will help prepare you for your goal specific training and help to make you a stronger runner while also reducing your risk of injury.
As with any question with your training, if you're stuck as to which plan to go for or how to set it up best for you, just message us in the Support tab of the app and we'll be waiting to take your running to the next level! If you have some extra time to play around please take advantage of this! After all, it's about the journey and not just the final race. Get excited, it's time to start training.