Monday, March 18, 2019

What to Know Before You Start Your Next Training Cycle

So it's time again to start a new training cycle. If you're in the same boat, or if you're starting your first ever training cycle, this post is for you. I'm sharing today the things that I learn/remember every time I start a new training cycle.

All training cycles are different. They vary from the distance of the race, your goal, and each person who's running them.  There are literally thousands of training plans out there for every single race and almost none of them are one size fits all.  Find the one that seems to work best for you, do your research, make sure you're not paying someone who isn't a coach or trainer for a plan that worked for them a couple of years ago.  Find a plan from someone you trust and make any adjustments you feel like you need to make it work for you.

Training almost never goes exactly as planned. So instead of planning out every step of the way, be flexible when you need to.  Your plan may call for a long run on a day that you just know there is no way you will fit it in. It's ok to switch your days around as long as you're making sure to get the rest days you need.

Take your training seriously. If you want to do well in your race, you need to train like it.  You can't expect to get a PR, or meet your goal time if you only half trained for your race. So make sure that you're putting the right effort into your training. There are going to be days that you don't hit your paces, there might even be days you don't feel like running at all. Give yourself some grace on those days but don't let it turn into a way for your training.

Give yourself the right amount of time to train. I don't have time in my day to train for a full marathon right now, it's not my top priority and I can't fit it in with family life right now, so I don't train for the marathon. I train for half marathons, 10ks and 5ks because the time it takes daily is more doable for me. Along with that, you need to make sure you start training far enough in advance.  The amount of time will also depend on the length of the race, and the training cycle.  Start far enough ahead of the race that you'll have a little wiggle room but not too far so that you overtrained and end up injured.

Strength training/cross training days are a must. A lot of runners don't think that strength training is important to their running, but it is so important! Adding strength training to your cycle helps you build stronger muscles (obviously) that will help you stay injury free. Strength/cross training also gives your body a break from running and helps your body recover faster. Not to mention that having strong core muscles help with running form.

Have fun! You signed up for the race, it was a choice you had. You GET to run, you don't HAVE to. So enjoy it! Put some music on to run/jam out to.  Run with a friend.  Do whatever it is that you need to do to make it fun. There is nothing that says you have to look mad when you run, and there's science that says that when you smile while running you actually do better! So have fun.

Are you running your first race?

What is your favorite race to train for?

When is your next training cycle?


  1. These are all good tips. One thing I always keep in mind when training is that I have to be flexible. I'll still get in all my workouts even if I need to switch what days I do a particular workout. Life happens and we have to learn to be flexible.

    1. So true! It’s not the end of the world if we need to switch things around

  2. Love these tips. You definitely need to find the best plan that works for you timing wise. I like to work with a coach when it comes to specific training plans.

  3. I agree training rarely goes as planned! Good tips for everyone to remember

  4. Awesome tips! Having a plan is so important when training for a race or meet. Thank you!

  5. As many races as I've done, I have never adequately trained. I really need to build strength training into my routine. I am working on that now.

  6. I learned early on that a training plan is more of a guide than an etched-in-stone thing. I always figure in some wiggle room and expect to miss a run now and then. Great tips!

  7. I am in maintenance mode right now. I don't have any big races on the horizon, but I like to be in half marathon shape at all times. Right now, I've just come off two big 15K weekends, so I could pop out 13.1 if I needed to. Hopefully going to hit 10 miles in a long run this weekend, but we will see how it goes.

    As always, great advice!