Finding a generic running training plan online that fits your life is practically impossible! I am not a runner who runs daily; I only recently graduated from running three days a week to four. Most of the training plans that I find online include at least five days of running. Some bodies don’t handle hitting the pavement that often, while some people just don’t have the time. And there is nothing wrong with this! Training plans are not one size fits all. For that reason, I’ve taken to building my own running training schedule. Here are my easy-to-follow steps (and tips) so you can create your own running schedule.
*Please note that I am not a personal trainer or coach. If you’re looking for training schedules to improve race time, please consult a professional and don’t DIY your training. The following advice is based on my personal experience in creating training plans that fit my needs.
Even though it would make life a little easier, I have never enlisted a coach to create a training schedule. For one, I’m not trying to get a Boston qualifying time (yet). My running goals usually include me simply wanting to get out the door for a run, and having a schedule keeps me accountable. Plus, I think it’s fun to research training plans and organize everything into a pretty spreadsheet.
Start with google or my personal favorite: Pinterest (I even have a board where I pin training plans). One night while you’re laying in bed scrolling through Pinterest, do a search for training plans. Find one that speaks to you.
Or go straight to the experts! Hal Hidgon’s website is a goldmine of training plans. Use one of his plans as a jumping off point.
2. Build a Spreadsheet
Once you’ve picked a schedule you’d like to use as a starting point, open up your spreadsheet program of choice. Include the days of the week, workout description, mileage, and so on. Or use the one I created for you to modify, just follow the link below.
There are so many great reasons to create a training schedule in a spreadsheet. For one, I like making things pretty on the computer. I’ll add color-coded workouts and write inspirational messages to myself. You get to be creative and make it easy for you to read and understand, which is so important for a personalized plan!
With a little cut and paste you can rearrange your training schedule on a moment’s notice. Some weeks are crazy, and you’ll want to make your training schedule work for you and a spreadsheet makes it that much easier!
Plus in a spreadsheet, you can make life easier with a few formulas. There are two simple formulas that I always include. To track my weekly mileage, I use the SUM function, which just adds up my daily runs to show my week’s total mileage. The other formula I use helps me keep an eye on my how quickly I am increasing my mileage. The general rule of thumb for increasing weekly mileage safely–especially at the beginning of your running journey to prevent overuse injury–is to not increase your weekly mileage more than 10%. The math is simple, but the formula may make your eyes cross. To avoid that I’ve included the formula in the free spreadsheet that I created for you. That formula is:
(last week’s total mileage x 10%) + last week’s total mileage = the number of miles next week should not exceed
3. Before You Hit Print
When you’re building your personalized training plan don’t forget to look at your family calendar. Don’t schedule a long run on your anniversary–unless you’re running with your partner (how fun!). And if you’re going to be traveling, plan how you’re going to get a workout in (or not). The point of make a your own running training schedule is making it so that it fits around your life, your body, your goals!
Share your #runnervibes below: Do you create your own training schedules? What tips do you have?
Make creating your own training schedule even easier! Download this simple training plan template.