What does a structured training plan involve?
"The Will to Win means nothing without the will to prepare" - Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner. Aravind Kumar is a UESCA certified running trainer, nutrition coach, an accomplished runner and Playfiks athlete. In this article, he offers some insight why you should consider a structured training plan, and what that training might look like. Until mid last year, I was blindly registering for races and participating in them before I realized my mistake. Unless you are someone who purely runs for the joy of running, there is no point in just registering for races and running without training. Let me make it blunt. Any Tom, Dick & Harry can register for a race. All you need is a credit/debit card and a good internet connection. Although running is a more of a mental sport, I don't believe in the logic of pushing hard through your mental power without training, going through hell to finish, then getting injured and being forced to take a break. For those like me who see the value in preparation and training. This article is for you - a look at a structured training plan that will bring out your best. A structured training plan includes 3 different phases. The effort, time spent & intensity in training are different for each one. These are: Phase 1 - Base Building This is typically the phase where you get back to being physically active after a brief (or not so brief) period of rest. You typically have to take it slow and steady, without ramping up too quickly. It’s all about focussing on getting back to a routine of training 3-4 days a week. This phase is definitely mandatory for those who have taken a break from physical activities for a while. Time Span : 4 to 8 weeks Phase 2 - Conditioning This is the phase where you should GRADUALLY start building up effort, intensity & time spent working out. This phase involves some speed workouts, strength workouts & cross training, along with long runs once in a while at goal pace. More often, people tend to peak early at this stage, over train and end up with injuries. The mantra for this phase is SLOW & STEADY. Time Span : 4 to 8 Weeks Phase 3 - Peaking/Race Specific Training By now, a good foundation is built and you are already set a routine that fully regain your fitness levels. Depending on the kind of race you have registered for, this phase will involve race specific workouts , building mileage with more strength & cross training. I would typically recommend an easy week once every 3 weeks and a mandatory day off every week. Time Span : 16 to 18 Weeks (considering that most of us are recreational runners, I will go with 18 weeks to have a 10% buffer , i.e 2 weeks which I might miss out due to other commitments ) If you are someone who has not taken a break, I would still recommend going through both the phases before peaking.