“Think long term, your goal race should always be the race after your next race”
Designing your program can become a daunting task with all the resources out there trying push a certain philosophy onto your laps. Here are my top 3 considerations you must have when attempting this build:
- What is YOUR schedule
- What race are you training for
- How well do you actually want to run this race
- Your schedule is going to be the sole determinant in what plan you make/choose to use.
Keep It Stupidly Simple. If you only have 3 days available to run make your program for 3 days (not recommended for marathon training), and if you have 7 days available program for 7 (not recommended for life training). Do not set yourself up to fail before you leave the blocks.
For example: If you are training for a 10k on a 4 day a week program and after the race is over you feel great and like you could be faster, then try 5 days for your next plan. BUT do not start with 5 days then bonk out halfway through because your schedule is too busy to complete the runs.
2. What type of race are you training for.
If you are training for a 5k and it is your first race or first time running you do not need to go on a 10 mile run. What you should have is some walk/jog or walk/run build ups throughout the program to work on your speed and comfortability to run for longer time periods.
Now if you are training for a marathon that 10 mile run will be on the short end and you need to have at least a 4 day per week plan. You need to have variability in your weekly workouts to prevent staleness and a long run of up to 18 miles or so. [see: Running Menu Blog]
3. How well do you actually want to run this race… in other terms, What Are Your Goals?!
I think this is a trickier subject because it can be perceived that something is better or worse than that other thing you are doing. It would be very challenging, for example, to excel in dance, weightlifting, and running all at the same time. But that is not to say that they don’t compliment each other well in a program. In fact you might reach your best results when you are doing all of the above.
The trickier part comes with having to do less of some for the benefit of the others. Doing a hard dance class the night before a hard running workout might leave that running workout less than par. Now which one should be your focus? That would depend on if you are training for a 5k at the end of the month or a dance recital. Same thing applies to a weight lifting competition. You may have to sacrifice some running workouts in order to save energy for the competition and the workouts needed before hand.
All I am trying to say is make sure you know your goal(s), then take a deep breath and go out and get them.