I have learned it myself the hard way, and always highlight the importance of easy running sessions. When you train for running, easy training sessions are often the key factor to become a better runner for long distances. You need a good mix of easy and hard. The basic rule is that 80% of the sessions shall be easy and 20% shall be hard. This sounds very strange to many, but you should really give it a try. All the people I have been working with who have changed their tactics to 80/20, have become significantly better within short time. How to find the right mix between easy and hard? This is just a matter of counting, based on how many sessions you have or wish to have.
We, meaning the coaches in Team Kristiansen, have been working with many people who wanted to run faster and longer. Far the most of them have before this been running too hard. Some were only running hard sessions. The problem is, if you are running only 2-3 times per week, you may feel that you recover sufficiently between each session, and therefore just perform hard sessions. This is anyway not a good thing to do. Easy sessions are very essential sessions. Also, if you are only training interval sessions, it is impossible to build up a foundation that will give you a lasting basic good shape. When only training intervals, the risk of injuries increases, because this represents a heavy load, in particular if the basic shape is not in place.
Below you will find two suggestions for weekly training plans. This of course depends on how much you want to run and how much you want to train for running. Remember that each session shall start with 10-15 minutes of warming up and end with minimum 10 minutes of easy jogging to cool down.
Weekly training plan for beginners
If you are in the start up phase, we recommend that you start with 2-3 sessions per week. The weekly training plan may then look like this:
Session 1: Easy jogging 40- 45 minutes. Run in a comfortable speed, walk in hills if you need, and enjoy the run.
Session 2: Intervals: 45 seconds good speed then 15 seconds easy walk, repeat this for 10 minutes. Then easy jogging for 5 minutes. Then repeat this 3-5 times more. Try to keep the same speed in all the interval sessions. It is better to run a little bit too easy than too hard.
Session 3: Easy session for 60 minutes +/-. Keep the speed easy, walk in hills if you feel for it.
Weekly training plan for those who run 4-5 times per week:
Are you one of those who runs 4-5 sessions per week, maybe also planning to participate in a race during spring or summer? Be sure that you vary the training , and make sure that the body can take the load. Easy sessions may be alternative sessions to running; bicycling, nordic walking or other forms for the sake of variation.
Specific muscle training, which should be performed after the easy sessions, is also recommended. The muscle training should then be for the muscles that are loaded during running, and also for supporting muscles in knees, ancles, hips etc.
Session 1: Intervals: Warm up. Pyramide intervals: 1,2,3,4,3,2,1 min (30 seconds pause between). Try to keep similar speed on the intervals that are equal. The pulse should increase gradually, so remember to be active in the pauses.
Session 2: Easy run 45-60 minutes. Find a pleasant speed and take pauses when needed. You shall not become stiff or get heavy legs. Finish with exercises like calf raises, step ups , walking lunges and the plank.
Session 3: Easy run 45-60 minutes. Find a pleasant speed and take pauses when needed. You shall not become stiff or get heavy legs. Finish with exercises like calf raises, step ups , walking lunges and the plank.
Session 4: Intervals: Warm up. Long intervals: 3 minutes x 6-8 times (1 min active jogging during pauses). This shall be aerobic, meaning that you shall not have excess lactic acid. Long intervals give you foundation for aerobic endurance over longer time. Remember to jog/be active in the pauses.
Session 5: Easy long run 60- 90 minutes. Here it is important to take it easy. Walk in hills and do not exaggerate.
Remember that you shall NOT get excess lactic acid when you train for running, and specifically not when you are training for endurance. This will destroy the muscles you are trying to train. You should always be able to complete some more intervals when you are finished. If you are not, you have been training too hard. Many are not holding back and are struggling with this. But if you master it, it will give you a lot.
Good luck with the training!
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Author: Marte Kristiansen