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How to choose a training schedule

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Running is one of the most ubiquitous activities you can do. But there are a number of questions that need answering when you start running: how long should you run for? how many times per week and at what speed?

The simplest thing to help you at the beginning is to follow a training schedule, i.e. a basic outline that corresponds perfectly to your aspirations and needs, as well as your capabilities both physical and practical.

There are a plethora of different schedules, of varying length and difficulty. So, how do you go about making your choice?

 

What is your starting point?

The first thing to do is evaluate your starting point. Indeed, if you have never run before, it won't be easy to run for one hour continuously over 4 weeks at a rate of two outings per week.

You must therefore be very careful nay humble when setting your selection criteria to ensure that the suggested schedule is in keeping with your current abilities. This doesn't mean that you will never be able to run for one hour without stopping. It simply means that it may take awhile.

 

How much time do you have available?

The time you have available is a key element to take into consideration. This is because any good resolutions you take regarding your new activity will rapidly and hopelessly be wiped out by any damaging repercussions to your family, social or professional life.

You must not seek to achieve too much too quickly. It is better to choose a schedule of 2 weekly runs rather than 3 if you are in any doubt.

 

What short-term goal do you want to set yourself?

In order to run for one hour non-stop, you need to complete the intermediate milestones which could involve running for 30 minutes continuously, then running for 45 minutes continuously and finish by running for one hour continuously.

We do not all have the same physical abilities and some people
will be able to reach these milestones quicker than others. But in the end, all that counts is the result no matter how much time it takes to reach your objective.

What's more, it is better to follow a schedule that is slightly lower than your maximum potential and reach your target rather than seeking to cut corners to reach the peak more quickly and finish physically and mentally exhausted!

 

…What about the medium-term?

Once you have obtained your objective, you may want to follow a more ambitious schedule. Those who are now able to run marathons were previously incapable of running for 42 km or even running for one hour when they started.

a significant proportion of the athletes who are now in the leading groups of races started running simply to lose weight or stop smoking. In doing this they discovered athletic potential that had been untapped until then and persevered to become the accomplished sportsmen and women they are today. This is one of the beauties of our sport: anyone (barring health problems) is capable of running with an unknown potential.

 

"If you want to go far you need to pace yourself!"

For beginners, running at the wrong pace often leads to failure. Therefore, always keep in mind: "To go far you need to pace yourself." Most of the schedules are based on percentages of your heart rate. A heart rate monitor is a very reliable tool for learning to run at the right speed. If you do not want to use this tool, you can run according to how you feel physically. For example, at endurance place, you should be able to have a nearly normal conversation while running.

In short, before making your choice, ask yourself the following four questions as objectively as you can:

- How much time do I have available?

- What is my starting point?

- What is my short-term objective?

- And what is my medium-term objective?

Having answer these key questions, nothing can stop you accomplishing your goals and astonishing those who, without saying it, doubted your abilities.

 

Happy training!

 

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