I'm a big believer in individualized training plans. However I understand that isn't always possible. Today I want to talk about some ways to individualize your training plan so it works better for your goals and life.

Stephanieruns Fitness

November 4, 2018 Newsletter

How can you customize your training plan?

As a trainer and coach it's no surprise that I believe in individualized training plans for runners. However I understand this isn't always possible. Not everyone can or wants to work with a coach. Today I want to spend some time talking about how you can take your current training plan and make it work better for you. Hopefully with a little bit of knowledge you can make tweaks to your training plan.

There are many places you can find a training plan. You could find one online, from a running store or from a running book. When you find a running plan I can almost guarantee that it will never 100% work for you. The only way to get a plan that 100% works for you is to have to designed especially for you. So what can you do when you find a plan that mostly works for you? How can you adjust the plan you found? 

Here are my top tips for customizing your training plan:

1) You can move around the days you workout. Your plan might have our long run on Sunday but Friday works better for you. What you need to be mindful of when you switch days around is your overall training load. The plan you've found has put each workout on a specific day for a reason. This allows for you to recover from each workout and not have two intense workouts back to back. Generally to manage your training load you want your workouts to switch between hard/easy. You can however have a strength training the day after a hard running workout as they work on different systems. Move your workouts to days that work better for you, just be mindful of what workouts you have back to back.

2) You can reduce the number of runs per week to allow for other workouts. Most running based training plans you’ll find have four to five running workouts a week. As you know I’m a big believer in strength training for runners. If you’re using a training plan that has 4-5 runs a week that leaves very little time for any other workouts. You can swap one of your easy runs for a strength training workout. The strength training workout will help improve your running. 

3) You can change the progression of your training plan. This is harder to do when you’re a novice but as you learn more about training plans it becomes easier. You can change how quickly your mileage progresses or slow down your mileage progresses. This is key if you know how your body adapts to training. Maybe you need more time to build your mileage. Changing your progression allows you to modify your training plan to how you adapt. This might extend the number of weeks in your training plan and that's okay.

4) Add in heart rate zone or target paces. Most training plans you find won’t have heart rate zones or target paces. Some training plans will but it might not be the right pace for you. When you add in your heart rate zones or pace targets you’ve made your training plan work for your specific goal. The hardest part about doing this is setting up your heart rate zones (there are several ways to do this) or your pacing targets. If you're a novice I recommend reading up more on the topic or asking for assistance.

5) Adding in flexibility workouts. We know that flexibility workouts will help improve your flexibility, range of motion, and help reduce your risk of injury. The training plan you've found might not have any flexibility workouts in it. I would recommend adding this into your training plan. If your plan has several runs you could look at swapping one for a flexibility workout or adding a flexibility workout after a shorter run. Flexibility workouts will help you become a more balanced runner.

Not everyone is able to have a training plan customized for them, but that doesn't mean you can't tweak the training plan you have. Making adjustments to your training plan will help bring you closer to your goal and ensure that your training works for your life. Hopefully you'll take this information and make some adjustments to your own training plan.

Weekly Challenge: Customize your Training

This week I'm challenging you to customize your training plan. This challenge is especially important if you’re using a training plan that you found online or in a book. Unless you have a training plan designed specifically for you there are always tweaks you can make. 

First I’d like you to review your current goal. If you’re training for a race maybe your goal is to run the race in a certain time. It’s always worth reviewing your goals to ensure  they are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time based.) 

Next review your training plan to see if your plan is working for your goals. If you have a time based race goal how is your training plan setting you up to meet that goal? Maybe you need to add in pace or heart rate zones to your runs to help you reach your goal. 

Lastly I want you to review your training plan to see if it works for your life. If your long runs are all scheduled for Sunday’s but you work weekends then you probably need to move your long run to another day. You might have work or family commitments that don’t allow you to work out on certain days. Adjust your training plan so you don’t set yourself up to fail. You can use the tips I shared above to make further tweaks to your training plan.

I’d love to hear how you do with this. Customizing your training plan will help you better target your goals. It also makes training more enjoyable. When it fits into your life and you don’t need to adjust important family or work obligations to get your workout it life flows better. Send me an email or tweet and let me know how you do with this! 

Stephanieruns Fitness Training Plans

I am in the process of completely redoing the training plans I have for sale in my Training Peak's store. I'm going to update my store and publish some new plans. I want to hear from you as to what plans you want me to create. I'm always looking to create running and strength training plans that you want to use! If there's something you want to see in my training peak's store send me an e-mail at fitness@stephanieruns.com and let me know!

As I'm in the process of updating everything I've marked down all my current training plans in my store. Everything is under $36 USD. It's a good chance to pick up my strength training for runners program especially if you're looking to add in more strength training into your training program. I also have a 14 day Fitness Kick Start program which is geared towards beginners who want to get onto a fitness routine. Once I update my store these plans will be retired so check them out while they are still there!

As we are talking about making adjustments to your training plan today I'd like to remind you that I do offer running strategy sessions to help make tweaks to your current training plan. This won't create a new training plan but will make your current training plan work better for you. If you're stuck on making changes to your training plan or would like more help making adjustments I am available. Through two calls I'll get to know your training plan better and what is and isn't working and help make changes so your training plan works for you and your goals. The cost for this is $99 USD. For more information or to book a running strategy session send me an e-mail at fitness@stephanieruns.com

If you have any topics you'd like me to cover in a future newsletter please let me know. I'm always looking for questions you'd like me to answer. Send any questions you have my way!

If you found this helpful please share this newsletter and encourage your friends to subscribe

If you're looking for help with your running and strength training I am available. Send me an e-mail at fitness@stephaneruns.com for more details and to see if I'd be a good fit for your training.


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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.