Training Smart – Training Plan Basics for Runners

As I write this post, the 2020 Calgary Stampede Road Race (5km, 10km or 21.1km) is 20 weeks away. 

By the time you read this, well, I am not sure how long out this race is for you. 🙂 The more important question is, what does your training plan look like?

Training programs for distances like the 5km, 10km or 21.1 (half marathon) are very easy to come by. women-sports-running-fitness-model-wallpaper

Online Training Plans:

Nike, Runner’s World and Running Magazine have a plethora of training programs to choose from that you can easily find online. 


There are so many Apps to help you track your miles and help you set up a training schedule: RunCoach, Runtastic and Nike can be quite helpful. And if you have the time and patience to set them up and link them to a Garmin (for example) then your training and tracking are linked together.


If you want the one-on-one of a personal coach (either in person or online) this is when programs begin to have a cost associated with them. It can be a little or a lot depending on what you want or need. Some Apps have the option of a monthly fee, where a coach spends some individual time with you answering questions and tweaking the training plan.

Group Training:

There is always the option of joining a group, like the Running Room, to find others training for the same distance. There is a small cost associated with this, but it pays off in spades as the social component is great!

Whichever way you choose, the goal is to keep running and train smart!

Training Smart

Many training programs will start you out 12 weeks before the race. I am a bigger fan of 16, 18 or even 20 weeks out. Especially if you are a new runner or someone getting reacquainted to running again after some time away. As long as you train smart it won’t matter if you begin 13 weeks out instead of 20. 

Training smart means a “slow build” to get your body used to running. Otherwise known as “base training”, the first part of your training plan is to get your body used to pounding on the pavement. Your joints, muscles and tendons all need to build fitness, not just your heart and lungs. You want to do the exact opposite of “too much too soon”. It’s an important piece of the puzzle as it gets your body prepared for more miles or more specific training as you get closer to race day. 

The goal of your training plan is to increase running mileage gradually and steadily. Each week should build on the previous one. Typically a run program should show a gradual increase in mileage each week, by about 10%. Often a program will include a long run, a shorter run and a speed-, or hill-, or tempo-type run.

Which ever training plan you choose to follow (online, App, coach or group training) you will get those three important components in your plan.

Happy Running!

~Dr. Angela

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