Training schedule for beginning or injury-prone runners

© April 2017 Paul Cooijmans

Introduction

This is a running training schedule for beginners and for runners who tend to experience injuries when trying to follow a running programme. The schedule represents a careful approach to running as explained in Principles of running training; it is recommended to study that article before proceeding. The schedule has forms for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0 session(s) per week. While a high training frequency is optimal in this philosophy, the below form for 3 sessions per week is a compromise between practicality and effect. An electronic booklet with all forms of the schedule, covering all of the just named frequencies and an expanded version of the instructions, is available at the bottom of the page.

Training schedule for beginning or injury-prone runners - cover image

Instructions

  1. The programmes of the schedule are identified by their weekly run distance, for instance "2 km/week".
  2. Start with a programme that looks easy, and keep repeating it until you are confident that it causes no injuries or other symptoms of overtraining, and until you feel it can not further improve your running. Then, go to the next-higher programme.
  3. When a programme causes injuries or other symptoms of overtraining, reduce your speed; if that does not solve it, go back to the previous programme.
  4. Execute a session as follows: Walk 1 to 1.5 km by way of warming-up. Run the indicated number of runs of the indicated distance, for instance, 5 x 100 means five times hundred metres. In between the runs, shake your legs loose and walk the same distance as just run; in case of the 1000 metres, the recovery distance may be shortened if you find it too long, but not shorter than 500 metres. Walk 1 to 1.5 km by way of cooling-down. All walking should be brisk, and never stand still during the session. If a session consists only of walking, leave out the warming-up and cooling-down.
  5. Run at fairly easy paces such that, after the 100, 200, and 400 metres, you do not pant heavily. During and after the 1000 metres, breathing should be deeper, but without suffering serious discomfort. For more details on the paces to run, see Principles of running training.
  6. The first few runs should be done extra slowly to ease into it; in case of the 1000 metres, this concerns just the first one. This is needed because you have only walked in the warming-up phase, so are not fully warmed-up for running at the start of the first run. This deviates from the conventional approach of jogging or slow running for warming-up, followed by acceleration runs ("strides", Steigerungen), and has the advantage that you have better control over the total distance run, which makes it easier to prevent injuries and overtraining.
  7. If the 1000 metres sessions feel too long for you, replace them with 800 metres (and the corresponding 800 metres recovery intervals, to be shortened if desired but not shorter than 500 metres). If that is still too long, go back to a programme with 400 metres as its longest distance. When replacing the 1000 metres with 800, use the same number of repeats as prescribed for the 1000.
  8. If the 1000 or 800 metres sessions remain too strenuous or keep causing injuries, you may try replacing them with this lighter approach: Take a course of 10 km and cover it by walking 1 to 1.5 km, then complete it with an alternation of 2 minutes easy running, 2 minutes walking. Observe that this roughly falls within the scope of a 10 x 400 metres session that you are already familiar with at this point. Later extend this to alternations of 3/3 minutes running/walking, then possibly 4/4. The distance may be extended from 10 to 15 km. You are then covering a similar distance as in a 6 x 1000 session, but in an easier way.
  9. If you wish to run on a course without measured distances now and then, replace the distances by times that approximate how long you normally take for that distance, for instance 30 seconds for 100 metres, 1 minute for 200, and so on. Do not do this too often though, as it is less accurate than running by distance, and therefore offers less control over the total amount of strain on the kinetic apparatus.
  10. Try to run races regularly, like every few weeks, in the programmes that advise such. Start with short distances around 3 km, and only go on to the next-higher available race distance when you can not easily improve your time any more.
  11. Keep in mind that the distances up to 400 metres serve to develop a light-footed, resilient, economical running style, which takes several months to a few years. The 1000 metres serve to improve aerobic capacity (as do possible 800 metres, if you prefer those over 1000).
  12. The programmes marked as High-volume are meant to put temporary emphasis on aerobic capacity, endurance. They should be applied only for several weeks on end, and not in a period with important races, as such emphasis may go at the expense of style.
  13. If no course with distance signs is available near you, use one of the "Measure your course" web sites on the Internet to find suitable stretches of road or path near you. Use satellite view, zoom in and use features like curves, crossings, and trees as starting and end points.
  14. Running on soft surface is better than running on paved roads, with regard to most running injuries.
  15. When possible, run with tailwind. This is better for style. For instance, walk back in the recovery phase so that the same stretch of road or path can be used to run with tailwind each time.
  16. You need not make it to the highest programmes of the schedule. There is probably a programme beyond which you can not advance without suffering injuries. This is normal.
  17. If you can do the Advanced programmes without problems and are not making progress any more, try going to a higher training frequency.
  18. Next to the running sessions, do core stability and flexibility exercises.
  19. Before entering a running programme, you should be able to walk briskly for an hour without interruptions, and you should be confident that you do not have a heart condition that precludes running. Consult a doctor first if in doubt.

Form for 3 sessions per week

0 km/week

Sundaywalk 6 km
Wednesdaywalk 6 km
Fridaywalk 6 km

1 km/week

Sunday5 x 100
Wednesday5 x 100
Fridaywalk 6 km

2 km/week

Sunday10 x 100
Wednesday10 x 100
Fridaywalk 6 km

3 km/week

Sunday10 x 100
Wednesday10 x 100
Friday10 x 100

4 km/week

Sunday8 x 200
Wednesday12 x 100
Friday12 x 100

5 km/week

Sunday10 x 200
Wednesday15 x 100
Friday15 x 100

6 km/week

Sunday12 x 200
Wednesday18 x 100
Friday18 x 100

7 km/week

Sunday15 x 200 or race up to 3 km
Wednesday20 x 100
Friday20 x 100

8 km/week

Sunday8 x 400 or race up to 4 km
Wednesday12 x 200
Friday12 x 200

9 km/week

Sunday15 x 200 or race up to 5 km
Wednesday15 x 200
Friday15 x 200

10 km/week

Sunday10 x 400 or race up to 6 km
Wednesday15 x 200
Friday15 x 200

11 km/week — Advanced

Sunday4 x 1000 or race up to 8 km
Wednesday15 x 200
Friday10 x 400

12 km/week

Sunday5 x 1000 or race up to 10 km
Wednesday15 x 200
Friday10 x 400

13 km/week — Default advanced programme

Sunday6 x 1000 or race up to 12 km
Wednesday15 x 200
Friday10 x 400

14 km/week — High-volume programme

Sunday6 x 1000 or race up to 12 km
Wednesday6 x 1000
Friday20 x 100

15 km/week — High-volume programme

Sunday6 x 1000 or race up to 15 km
Wednesday6 x 1000
Friday15 x 200

E-book "Training schedule for beginning or injury-prone runners"

An electronic booklet with all forms of the schedule, covering training frequencies of 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0 sessions per week. Order with the below PayPal button, or use one of the alternative methods of payment. The book will be sent to you by e-mail within one or two days, mostly within hours.

Training schedule for beginning or injury-prone runners - cover image Title: Training schedule for beginning or injury-prone runners
Author: Paul Cooijmans
Publisher: I.Q. Tests for the High Range
Format: E-book in P.D.F.
Pages: 26
Language: English
Price: € 2.50