Choosing the Best Training Plan for Running

Selecting a training plan

If you’re looking for a running training plan, it’s important to choose the right one. Training for a race is a very personal thing, and trusting your race prep to a generic plan can lead to an injury that could end your race before it even begins. At Custom Training Plans, we’ve created running training plans that can be customized to your needs, your fitness, and even your race.

There are several different aspects you need to consider when you’re seeking out a comprehensive running training plan, and each of them are equally important if you’re looking for a plan you’ll stick to. Ask yourself the following questions when you’re considering a running race training program:

  • What’s the base fitness level needed to start this running training plan?

A running training plan for beginners should accommodate your current fitness level. Starting out with more miles than you’re capable of is a recipe for disaster, leading to burnout and even injury. And more experienced runners need flexibility as to their present fitness level as well in order to keep their fitness level up and prevent boredom.

  • Do you have a race you’re targeting?

If so, you’ll need to budget enough time for training. Starting your program too late can lead to underpreparation, and starting too soon may cause you to “peak” before your race date rolls around. You may also want to seek out a training plan that’s tailored specifically to your target race, such as the Boston Marathon or the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K.

  • What kind of workouts does this training plan include?

A comprehensive running training plan shouldn’t consist of a mileage calendar alone. Speed training is essential for building endurance, power, and cardiovascular fitness. Look for workouts like repeats, fartleks, hill work, and tempo runs. These workouts help you increase your distance and speed more efficiently.

  • Does this training program include cross-training?

Your training plan should also include cross-training days where you spend time doing other types of exercise, like yoga, bicycling, rowing, or hitting the gym to use the stairclimber or elliptical machine. This helps to increase mobility, stave off boredom, and get you working the muscles that you need to run well.

  • Are there scheduled recovery days?

While running every single day might seem like the best way to get in shape, it’s not. The body needs days to rest in order to allow your muscles to recover. Be sure that the running training plan you choose includes rest days and easy runs.

  • Is this training plan customizable?

A custom running training plan is the best option for runners at any level. Runners who are lacing up their sneakers for the first time need different plans than experienced athletes, and a generic plan simply can’t accommodate everyone. The ability to adjust workouts as needed is a key part of training effectively.

  • Most importantly, what do you like?

If you choose a plan that you don’t love, chances are that you won’t stick with it. While every training plan will include workouts that push your limits, they shouldn’t be downright unpleasant. Pick a plan that appeals to you, your goals, and your preferences.

Choosing a running training program is a very personal thing, so it’s vital to take the time to research your options. It can be tempting to download a generic plan, but a one-size-fits-all plan may be a recipe for disaster. At Custom Training Plans, we take your needs into account when designing each program. Every one of our training plans includes cross-training and speedwork, and we also offer training plans designed specifically for major events across the U.S.

Whether you’re looking for a running training plan for beginners to take you from couch-to-marathon, aiming for a Boston Marathon qualifying time at the Twin Cities Marathon, or gearing up for a local 10K, CTP can create a running training plan just for you. Pick up a CTP plan today and experience for yourself the difference that a custom running training plan can make.