TOTR: What’s Your Training Plan Preference?

When it comes to training plans, I’m all over the map. I’ve used Hal Higdon’s plans before, Jeff Galloway and most recently RunFit365. I don’t typically stick to one plan or method. Instead I tweak them and make them work for my schedule and availability.

For example, Jeff Galloway’s three days per week plan works well with my current schedule. At the moment I’m typically only getting three days per week where I’m not working doubles, so that’s the only time I have to train. He has his runners do maintenance runs on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and long runs on Saturday’s (or sometimes back to back long runs if you’re doing one of the challenge races).

An example of Jeff Galloway's schedule for half marathoners.
An example of Jeff Galloway’s schedule for half marathoners.

However, I need more structure during the week, not just the “30-45 minutes of running” that Galloway’s plans offer. I really enjoy getting in a good speedwork, hill or tempo session (and that’s also necessary for my training as an OCR athlete) so I use Hal Higdon or the RunFit365 plans to fill in more details during my weekly training. Hal Higdon typically has runners do speedwork on Wednesdays, and since I currently have Wednesdays off I will be following that, at least for the rest of September.

An example of Hal Higdon's schedule for half marathoners.  I like that he incorporates pace runs every other week.
An example of Hal Higdon’s schedule for half marathoners. I like that he incorporates pace runs every other week.

RunFit365 uses a different method altogether- running by time instead of distance. Sometimes I like this, sometimes I don’t…it really depends on my mood. Occasionally the thought of “running 10 miles” is pretty daunting, so “running for 2 hours” seems less crazy somehow!

When my schedule changes to the Tuesday/Thursday off in October, I’ll probably add in a workout from the RunFit365 plans- either a tempo or fartlek run every week- and go from there. Or I may join the running group from my store for some Thursday night track sessions. Either way, I’m definitely keeping one day of speed training in there because, as much as I trust Jeff Galloway’s advice and as much as he’s helped me get through several half marathons, I can’t see how running that much slower than my race pace is going to get me to a half marathon PR! According to the calculations on his website, my training pace should be 14:00/mile! I don’t even know if I can run that pace…even when I first started training I was at a 12:30-13:00 pace. (This is not to say if you run a 14:00/mile it’s slow…I’m just saying that based on my current level of training that is much slower than I want/need to go).

For me, it’s best to edit and work around training plans. I can’t always stick to the exact schedule that the experts devise; I also race a lot so I typically have to change up long run weekends to accommodate my racing schedule. As for my running technique, I typically use Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method, at least for long runs and races over a 5k distance. I’ve found that I’m a lot faster when I stick to this method and it helps me to avoid becoming too tired early on in the race. In fact, I’m planning on trying his method during my next race- the Bonefrog Challenge 15k. I’ve never before tried it at a mud run before, but I feel like taking scheduled walk breaks may help my overall time!

Linking up with the ladies of the Tuesday’s on the Run linkup! Erika, Patty & Marcia!

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What type of training plan do you use? Do you mix and match or stick with just one plan?

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