My Running Plan

Sorry if this post is unusually navel-gazing of me, but I’ve got lots of friends who have a lot more experience than I do running and I’m hoping to get their feedback. I started running regularly back in May and I’ve been trying hard to increase at a slow, steady pace so that I don’t injure myself (which is what I did when I started running last year, and I hated it). I’ve done 7 weeks now, and everything was going great until I ran into some moderate pain after my run on Saturday.

I iced my leg on Saturday and then again a couple of times on Sunday and today I opted for my circuit training instead of running, but I decided I wanted to get a more organized plan. I was partly inspired by this article about a Richmond area woman who is running the Tour de France route. No worries, I’m not planning any extreme events because I also read this article about how extreme endurance running can actually cause trauma to your heart. My main goal–other than the sheer love of running–is to be live a long, active life so that my kids have me around for a long time. Apparently, somewhere around 20 miles / week is the optimum there, which is lower than I expected. So here’s my plan.

Running Plan

The red line is my actual weekly mileage total for each of the last 7 weeks. The green dotted line is what happens if I apply the pattern that Zoe Ramano used for her training: increasing by 10% a week but using every 4th week as a recovery week. (I don’t know how much she cut mileage for those weeks, I cut mine down to half of the prior week.) The blue dotted line is what I’m planning on running from now on (starting with a recovery week right now to go easy on my leg), and so it pretty much matches the green dotted line from here on out.

I keep the 10% increases going until I hit 36 miles because running 6 miles 6 times a week sounds like fun to me. I figure at some point I’ll probably modify that, maybe by picking up swimming or something for the winter months, but for now it’s just a goal to shoot for. Along the way, I’m cutting back on the total mileage per run and running more frequently during the week. The 17.11 miles I did last week were in three runs, the 17 miles I’m going to do next week will be split across 4, and I’m planning on increasing slowly to 6 days a week while keeping per-run mileage more or less constant before I start to ratchet up the miles again.

So… what do y’all think about this plan?


3 thoughts on “My Running Plan”

  1. I’ve been told by friends of mine who run more, (or at least who’ve read more about it) that I should follow some kind of plan, but I just run based on how my body feels, and groping my way along with intuition.

    I had a relay race that included an 11-mile leg, so my plan was to be comfortable running that distance. I had shin/calf problems when I tried to ramp up too quickly in the past but when I added a couple miles per week (spread over 3 or 4 runs) I did fine, until I was at 6-7 miles on the weekday runs, which seems about reasonable for me. I slowly increased my Saturday run until I was around 12 miles. Goal met. Once I got there, I decided to drop the mileage on weekday runs, opting to do speed work to increase my pace. I kept the long Saturday run at the slower pace.

    And that’s where I’m at right now. I’m slowly getting faster (got a personal record 5K pace on another leg of that relay), and I try to keep it at 3-4 runs a week, with a weights workout on my days off, and a rest day on Sunday. I’m currently not running at all, because I hurt my feet cliff jumping last week and plan on getting well before pushing it some more.

    I don’t know if any of that’s particularly helpful to you, but it looks like you’ve got a similar plan going, but with the end result of longer runs / more total miles which I’m not interested in myself. If your body’s like mine, I guess you’ll end up with similar results, ie: you’ll hit your goal. Personally, I’d take more than one day a week off. I’ve got an ultra-marathon neighbor who takes Thursday and Sunday off. The guy literally runs 100-mile footraces.

    YMMV obviously, and in this case, literally.

  2. Thanks, Tyler. I didn’t really start out with a plan either because I plan and set goals all the time and never meet them. It’s depressing. But, in my case, it’s important to limit myself or I’ll get over-excited and run too much and get hurt. When I’m out there running, I just always want to go farther. Always.

    So, I figure the plan may be important to try and restrain my ambition.

    And you’ve mentioned one of my big concerns: at some point I want to start doing more serious strength training or something, and when that happens it probably won’t fit in with running every day. Or maybe running every day (6 days a week, anyway) is just intrinsically a bad idea. I dunno.

    I figure I’ll stick with the plan over the next 3-4 weeks and during that time I might revise it, based on feedback like yours. For example: I really like the idea of keeping weekday runs consistent and emphasizing a really long Saturday run. I’ve only run 10 miles once, but I really enjoyed it.

  3. I’ve been running 15-30 miles a week for the last 4-5 years and doing races up to half-marathons. I suggest incorporating an active warmup (, )

    and spending $20 on a foam roller, to be used before and after workouts and before bed.

    Also, I’ve transitioned completely to minimalist footwear (Vibram Bikila LS, Merrel Trail Glove), and found that I have far fewer injuries and issues. However, it took a year or so to transition away from regular running shoes.

    I also track pretty obsessively (GPS/Heart rate watch, so I can identify patterns of over-running.

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