Beginner's Training Plan Without Target Race

Hi, I'm new to running and really enjoying it.  Right now I'm running 25-30km a week, and my long run is a 10k that takes me between 60-65 minutes.  I will enter some races but I live in a remote area and likely won't be able to do one until the spring.  I'm not very competitive about this, I'm running for health and fun, but of course I still need goals and to challenge myself.  My goal is definitely to bring that 10k time down as much as I can.

I'm looking for some advice on how I should structure my training.  All the plans I can find gear up for a race on a specific date.  Am I best off to follow one of these plans and perhaps just repeat it again once it's run its course?  Or, given that I'm a newbie and still so slow, should I just build up mileage and not worry about ay kind of speed work until I have a better foundation?

Finally, I'm currently running 4x a week.  A 10k, two 7ks, and a 5k.  If I got the same mileage over three days instead would that be a step backwards?

Thanks for any assistance image




  • Hi Chris

    It sounds like you're doing really well, so good on you. How long have you been running for? I am a big believer in starting out with a 'learning to run' phase where you do pretty much what you are doing now, run 3-4 times a week and don't try to go too fast or too long which risks injury. This will allow your body to get used to running, it will strengthen connective tissues and prepare your body for longer / faster runs. It sounds like you've made some real progress so I would recommend staying in that phase for 3 months (I sometimes recommend up to 6 for new runners). After that it depends what sort of race you want to do. If you're going long then you need to start building endurance before speed. If you are looking to do 5 - 10km races then you could build speed straight after.

    I'd also really recommend doing some really basic yoga and strength training. I have blogged about this here (it's stuff you can just do at home):

    My email is on that site, feel free to get in touch.

  • I don't think you need to change much. I would suggest introducing some faster paced efforts into one of your shorter runs. Maybe 10 x1 min efforts at a faster pace to start off with with whatever recovery time you need. do this 3 consecutive weeks but not on the fourth week.

    As for the long run, increase the distance or time on feet by 10% for 3 consecutive weeks but repeating the previous weeks run on every 4th week, the same week as above.

    Now you have introduced a little speed work and a recovery week without changing much or risking much injury and you have a recovery week once a month to consolidate your previous 3 weeks training.

    This will see definates improvement I'm sure.
  • Thanks for the advice guys.  

    I think I will try to just keep working on solidifying the habit of being out there 4x a week and not overthinking it, at least until the end of the year. 

    If I am increasing the mileage a bit, should the shorter runs increase along with the long run?  Or is it fine to have say a 13-15k long run (eventually) while the shorter runs still max out at 7k?

  • Of course it's fine if that's what you enjoy and can fit in. Again I think it looks about right anyway.

    You wanted to "bring that 10k time down" if you change what your doing as described in your first post to what you have suggested in your second post introducing some intervals or fartlek or faster paced efforts into one of your shorter runs per week you will get quicker over 10k.
  • I've said it before and I'll say it again - get yourself to parkrun when you want to add some speed. Doing a 5k against the clock / other people always makes you push yourself hard.

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