Looking for the Right Plan

Even though running is a simple sport, I always have so many questions…….How many days a week should I run?  How many miles a week should I run?  What pace or effort should I run each workout?  Should I cross-training?  How many rest days a week should I take?  All of a sudden, it’s not so simple.  I’m in need of a good plan that can help me answer these questions.

2013 question image

Now that I’ve completed a trail half marathon and had a good time, I’m on a mission to gain more experience at the half marathon level and complete 2 if not 3 more half marathons before the end of the year.

A few months ago I started gathering ½ marathon training plans, looking for the perfect one for me.  Everyone has different needs.  I was looking for two things.  I wanted a plan with no more than 4 days of running in addition to cross-training and a plan that had a cycle of 2 weeks of building and 1 week of recovery.  It should look something like this:  build, build, recover, build, build, recover.

Was I asking for too much (who me?)?  I never really found what I was looking for.  I found lots of plans.  One suggested 18 miles for the long run.  That’s a bit long for a half marathon plan, in my opinion. I found another plan, but it recommended running 5 to 6 days a week!  Wow!  I wish I could run like that.  Back in my early days of running, oh, about 25+ years ago, I could run every day of the week.  But, as I get older, I’m finding that my body cannot handle the impact of everyday running.  Plus, there really isn’t a reason to run every day (I keep trying to convince myself of this).

2013 3 days a week

Well, I finally found a plan that I think will work!  Run Less Run Faster by Runner’s World has pretty much everything I’m looking for.  They use the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) training programs.  The plan calls for 3 days of running.  Every run has a purpose.  The plan includes a speed workout, a tempo workout and a long run.  In addition, they suggest 2 days of cross-training, beautiful!  That leaves 1 day for rest and another day for yoga (yippee!  I really need a day for yoga).


The plan is a 16 week long plan.  However, I will have to make some adjustments to the plan since my next race is in just 6 weeks.   I can then jump back into the plan and follow it for the next 9 weeks leading up to the second race and completing their plan.  After, I will continue training as the third race will be 8 weeks later.  With a few adjustments, I can make it work.

If I want to try the program from start to finish with no alterations, I’ll have to wait until next year and carve out 16 weeks for this plan.

If you are looking for some good training plans, I would recommend this book.  In addition to the half marathon training program, the book also has plans for a 5k, 10k, and marathon.  It also provides the cross-training workouts.

So, it looks like I’m finally surrendering to the idea that running less may be better for me.  It may take time to get used to, but I know this could be a good thing.  And, if nothing else, it’s fun to try new training plans.  I’ll keep you posted on my training over the next 23 weeks.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has used any of these plans!

FYI……Here’s a good article on the benefits of cross-training for runners…..http://running.about.com/od/trainingessentials/a/crosstraining.htm

or you can visit my previous post on cross-training.

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