Training Plans


In 2013, I took a course to become an RRCA-certified running coach. I wasn't really sure if I'd ever take on running clients, but I really wanted that credential to back me up when I write on my blog about running. I am very confident about training and the advice that I give, but confidence doesn't mean much if you don't have a credential to prove it ;)


I've written numerous plans for friends and family, but haven't taken on running clients (yet--I may in the future). However, I thought it would be fun to include some plans here for people to enjoy. I will add to this page as I write more training plans, and I welcome feedback (positive or negative) regarding the plans. I'd love to help people reach their running goals! And this a great way for me to do that.

A few notes about my style of training:

*I follow the 80/20 ratio of easy running to moderate or hard running. Numerous studies and examples have shown that this is the ideal formula for reaching our best potential as runners. I recommend Matt Fitzgerald's book, 80/20 Running, to explain why this formula works so well. (Make sure you get the print edition, because the training plans require a ton of flipping back and forth through the pages, which would be very difficult with a digital copy.)

*I love heart rate training (namely for easy runs) and I highly recommend using a heart rate monitor to keep your easy runs truly EASY.

*I believe that rest days are necessary, so none of my plans will involve training every single day.

*I write most plans in terms of time, rather than distance. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) You won't rush through your easy runs in order to get through them faster--if you're scheduled for 30 minutes, then you'll run 30 minutes regardless of pace; and 2) The 80/20 ratio of easy to hard running is meant for time spent running, not distance.

Finally, my favorite group of people to help train are the middle- or back-of-the-pack runners. I can certainly help train highly competitive people, but these plans that I write will focus mostly on the middle of the pack. If you have an idea of a plan you'd like me to create, feel free to leave a suggestion, and I may consider it in the future!


That said, here are downloads to the training plans (check back for more periodically):


Runs for Cookies "Run Your First Mile" Plan

*This plan is for anybody who wants to get started running his or her first mile! The plan assumes you are capable of walking for 30 minutes, three times per week. This plan is unique in that there aren't any intervals (run-walk-run-walk-etc). You run a little, and then walk the rest of the time. Gradually, the amount of running increases until you're able to run the entire mile distance. Here is a blog post I wrote about this plan.




Runs for Cookies "Walk to Run" Training Plan

*This plan is for people who aren't yet runners, but would like to start from scratch. It assumes you are currently capable of walking for 30 minutes, 3+ times per week. This plan does NOT use intervals, like the popular Couch to 5K plan. When I was obese, I hated intervals, because I was always dreading the run portions. This plan gets the running done at the beginning of the workout, and then you walk to finish. The plan takes you from walking to running for 30 minutes at a time in 12 weeks.


Runs for Cookies "Your Best 5K" Training Plan
(including goals for sub-40, sub-35, sub-30, and sub-25 finish times)

*This plan is for experienced runners who are hoping to improve their 5K times. The training is 5 days per week for 12 weeks, and includes 1-2 days per week of speed work.



Runs for Cookies "Your Best 10K" Training Plan
(including pace recommendations for goals of sub-1:20:00, sub-1:10:00, sub-60, sub-55, and sub-50 finish times)

*This plan is for experienced runners who are hoping to improve their 10K times. You should be capable of running 5 days per week for about 60 minutes each day. The training is 5 days per week for 12 weeks, starting at just under 4 hours of training per week, and peaking at just over 6 hours.



Runs for Cookies "Finish Strong" Half Marathon Training Plan

*This plan is for experienced runners who are hoping to complete a half-marathon while feeling strong throughout the race. This plan could be used for a first half-marathon or for those experienced in this distance. It includes a minimal amount of speed work, so it's not meant for those attempting a PR (although it certainly couldn't hurt); but rather for people who just want a good race experience. You should already have a solid base built up and be capable of running 4-5 days per week with a long run of 6+ miles to follow this plan.



Runs for Cookies' Six-Month Half-Marathon Training Plan for Beginners

*This plan is designed to take a true beginner (non-runner) from running their first 30 seconds to being able to complete a half-marathon in a six-month time frame. If you are capable of walking for 30 minutes, 4 days per week, then you shouldn't have trouble with this plan. This is a great plan for beginners of all levels--you can start at the beginning, or several weeks into it, depending on your fitness level and how much you've been walking or running. There is some moderate speed work once you get to Week 15, but the main purpose of this program is to get from beginner to half-marathon without injury.





Beginners' Base Building Plan

*This plan is for runners who are able to run 30 minutes, 3 times per week. The plan is all aerobic (no speed work) which is ideal for building a solid "base" before beginning a race training plan. It's a good way to build up mileage slowly to avoid getting injured by doing too much, too soon. The plan starts at 90 minutes per week and increases to 225 minutes per week over the course of 16 weeks.




Runs for Cookies' 2016 Summer Running Checklist

*This isn't necessarily a training plan, but I wanted to include it here if you're looking for a fun way to stay motivated to keep running. This is a checklist of runs to work on through the summer months. You could use this whether you're a beginner or an elite runner! You could also use this as a walker, and most of the "runs" could even be done as a cyclist. Use hashtag #CookiesSummerRunning when posting on social media, so I can follow along!



Here are some posts I've written with general training advice that may be helpful as well:

The importance of the easy run
A guide to running lingo (common terms used in running)
50 Running Tips (everything from clothes and weather to safety and beating boredom)
Tips for running (and training for) your first 5K race
Tips for running (and training for) your first 10K race
Tips for running (and training for) your first half-marathon
Tips for running (and training for) your first full marathon

(Please remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. These plans are not individualized, so they don't take your personal health into consideration. Use my advice at your own risk.)

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for all your work on these plans! Can't wait to try them!

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  2. Thanks Katie! I love that you included cut-back weeks as well. Would you be willing to do 10K plans the same way - including a sub 50 min such as you followed?

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  3. Thank you for this plan! I am a BOTP runner in my mid 40's and do find it hard to find programs to help me gain a little speed so I can move more toward the MOTP. I appreciate your work on this!!

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  4. Thank you so much for your time and expertise sharing this with your readers!! You have a gift, and I think it's fantastic of you to share it :)

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  5. Thank you for this Katie! Exactly what I've been looking for! I second the request for a 10K plan :)

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  6. Hi Katie, I have a question for you. On the Sub-35 plan, the Easy pace and the Tempo pace are shown as the same. Should they be the same? Thank you for putting in the work to make these plans, as I said in the other post!

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    1. Ah! That was a typo. I swear, I double and triple checked this before posting, but that must have gotten away from me. I corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out! :)

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    2. Ok cool - Thanks! I know -- isn't that how it goes. You look and look and something still gets by. Of course that's the plan I was studying so easy for notice. ;-) I may try it, and if so, will let you know how it goes. I can do a 5k about 39 mins but I'm only used to running once or twice a week for about 40 minutes. So not sure that my body can handle 4-5 times a week...

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  7. I love these plans! I would love a half marathon plan as well:)

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  8. Love these- thank you! I too would love to see a half marathon plan as my first one is in October!

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  9. I love these! Thank you! I would be interested in one for a half as well as my first is coming up in October!

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  10. Thanks so much for putting these together! I echo the desire for a half marathon plan :) I did have a question about pace. To keep my HR in the correct range I've been having to do run/walk intervals. Is that something I should expect to keep on race day or try for nonstop running during the race? Thanks again - Katherine

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    1. On race day, just do your best, regardless of heart rate! :)

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  11. Hola soy de Argentina. Quiero felicitarte por tus logros. Es admirable realmente. Yo tengo un exceso de peso de 40 kg y no se por donde comenzar. Me falta motivación.sos un ejemplo a seguir. Te felicito. Un saludo

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  12. Thanks for these. I ran a 1/2 marathon a year ago and then stopped so I am going to use your plan to build back up. I am hoping that running 5 days a week rather than 3 days will help take off 20 pounds. I have Garmin 10 watch but need to get a heart rate monitor and I am finding all the reviews overwhelming. I would prefer a watch but an worked they aren't accurate enough. But also can't figure out how a chest strap tells you your heart rate. Can you please give me some advice or direct me to your post if you have written about this previously. Thanks so much!

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    1. I love training with a heart rate monitor! The strap itself doesn't give you a reading--the strap has a little monitor on it that sends data to a watch. So, you'll be wearing both at the same time. (There are some models of watches that have a heart rate monitor built in, but lots of reviews have shown that they aren't nearly as accurate or consistent as the chest strap). I know it's super overwhelming when trying to find a watch! I love my 620, which is down to about $240 now (it was $450 when I bought it). A similar model, the 220, is only $205 with the heart rate monitor now--I would highly recommend either of those! They're not the newest models, but they do SO MUCH and they are very accurate. I know it's a big investment, but they really do last a long time, and they help keep you motivated to keep running! :)

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  13. Thank you so much for putting the time into this! I've just recently found your blog and I find it so inspiring.

    I'm not actually looking to train for a race -- mostly because I have a bad knee, so I do the elliptical machine rather than road running for lower impact. I started WW a few weeks ago, so I've been using the elliptical to get most of my Activity Points in. I've gone from 3 miles at 12min/mi to 4 miles at 10min/mi in 3 weeks! But I'm definitely not using the 80/20 method. I'm basically going as fast as I can sustain for 45 min every time. Is this a mistake? I'm worried about getting in all my Activity Points if I slow down.

    For reference, I'm a 44-yr-old woman and my heart rate stays between 145-165 during the core of my current routine -- used to get up closer to 170 by the end of the fastest part, but it's inching down.

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    1. The reason for the 80/20 method is to avoid injury AND build up aerobic endurance. You will probably have a higher calorie burn while going as fast as you can sustain, but in the long run, it's better to build up your aerobic system by sticking with the 80/20 method. You may do well with high intensity intervals, also--the calorie burn is very high, but you alternate doing very intense work for a minute followed by very easy for a minute (you repeat these intervals over and over for the duration of your workout). I just wrote a post about this yesterday!
      I think the answer to your question really depends on your goals. If you're working out solely for the purpose of burning calories, then what you're doing now seems to be working well for you. But if you want to get in the best shape you can (condition your body to exercise), then you would probably be better off doing a variety (some easy, some hard).

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    2. Thanks so much for the personal reply. I've taken your advice and have been (mostly) following the "Your Best 10K" training guide -- although my rest days are different days of the week.

      You know what? My knee stopped bothering me. That's a big win.

      Since there's no such thing as an elliptical 10K, I may just have to host my own. :)

      I'm curious about plans for people like me who aren't going to enter races. I want to see improvement over time without getting burnt out.

      BTW, I've mentioned your blog to lots of people on the WW Connect app. :)

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    3. I love the idea of a "just because" training plan--not training for a race, but to keep in shape. I am going to work on that! :) I'm so glad that you like 10K plan!

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  14. Do you have a recommendation on what to eat before and after a run (other than cookies!!!) I just found your blog last night so you may have posted about it somewhere and I just haven't found it yet!
    Thanks

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    1. I wrote a whole post about fueling :) http://www.runsforcookies.com/2016/07/all-about-fueling-during-runs.html

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  15. Thank you and congrats on the certification!

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  16. Question on the Base Building plan. My distance day will be Wednesday and I must have Sunday as a rest day. It doesn't look like a quick shift the days fix. Recommendation? Currently working on Walk to Run. LOVE the advice to run slow if needed

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    1. Hey there! On the base building plan, there is no speed work, so you can shift the runs around however you'd like :)

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  17. Is it unheard of for a 282 pound person to start running? I can walk for 45 minutes to an hour 4-5 times a week no problem.

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  18. Is it unheard of for a 282 pound person to begin running? I can walk 45 minutes to an hour 4-5 times a week no problem. Thanks😀😉

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)