Training Plans

The plans listed below offer a wide of array of opportunities for runners of all levels to develop their abilities in running and to achieve the goal they’re seeking.  Browse all of the plans below, and choose the one that is right for you.

RunVassar’s RoutineMaker Plan

This plan was designed by RunVassar to help you establish a nearly-daily exercise routine.  Routine is the most important part of making exercise easy and enjoyable.  Finding a time each day when you’re available to work out is key.  Use this plan to find that time before beginning one of our other plans.

Week 1

  • Monday – Walk or go easy on the elliptical for 20 minutes
  • Tuesday – 30 min. core work* (see below) or pilates at home
  • Wednesday – Brisk walk or moderate effort elliptical for 20 minutes
  • Thursday – 30 min. core work or pilates at home
  • Friday – Walk or easy elliptical for 20 minutes
  • Saturday – OFF
  • Sunday – 30 min. core work or pilates at home

Week 2

  • Monday – Walk or easy elliptical for 20 minutes
  • Tuesday – 10 min. bike, 30 min. core work or pilates at gym
  • Wednesday – Brisk walk or moderate effort elliptical for 20 minutes
  • Thursday – 10 min. bike, 30 min. core work or pilates at gym
  • Friday – Walk or easy elliptical for 20 minutes
  • Saturday – OFF
  • Sunday – 30 min. core work or pilates at home

Week 3

  • Monday – Walk or easy elliptical for 30 minutes
  • Tuesday – 15 min. bike, 30 min. core work at gym
  • Wednesday – Brisk walk or moderate effort elliptical for 30 minutes
  • Thursday – 15 min. bike, 30 min. core work at gym
  • Friday – Walk or easy elliptical for 30 minutes
  • Saturday – OFF
  • Sunday – 30 min. walk

Week 4

  • Monday – 30 min. core at home or gym
  • Tuesday – 30 min. brisk walk
  • Wednesday – 20 min. bike, 20 min. core at gym
  • Thursday – 30 min. brisk walk
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – 30 min. core at home or gym
  • Sunday – 30 min. walk

* Core work is defined as strength training that specifically targets the trunk (i.e. abdominals, obliques, and back).  Pushups, crunches, situps, etc. all fall into this category.  For a core routine, spend about 30 minutes doing multiple sets of each of these exercises.  A basic example would be to alternate 10 pushups, then 25 crunches for about 30 minutes.  Mix it up with planks, sit ups, or a variety of other exercises.

Coach Bud Coates’ Beginner Plan

This plan is adapted from the Complete Book Of Running, edited by Amby Burfoot, former executive editor of Runner’s World magazine.

WEEK 1

  • Sunday – Walk 20 minutes at comfortable pace.
  • Monday – OFF
  • Tuesday – Walk 20 minutes at brisk pace.
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – Walk 20 minutes at brisk pace.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Walk 20 minutes at comfortable pace.

WEEK 2

  • Sunday – Walk 30 minutes at comfortable pace.
  • Monday – OFF
  • Tuesday – Walk 30 minutes at brisk pace.
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – Walk 30 minutes at brisk pace.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Walk 30 minutes at comfortable pace.

WEEK 3

  • Sunday – Walk 4 minutes, run 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.
  • Monday – OFF or cross-training/low-impact.
  • Tuesday – Walk 4 minutes, run 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.
  • Wednesday – OFF or cross-training/low-impact.
  • Thursday – Walk 4 minutes, run 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Walk 4 minutes, run 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.

WEEK 4

  • Sunday – Walk 3 minutes, run 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.
  • Monday – OFF or cross-training/low-impact.
  • Tuesday – Walk 3 minutes, run 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.
  • Wednesday – OFF or cross-training/low-impact.
  • Thursday – Walk 3 minutes, run 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Walk 3 minutes, run 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 5 times.

WEEK 5

  • Sunday – Run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes.  Repeat cycle 4 times.
  • Monday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes.  Repeat cycle 4 times.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes.  Repeat cycle 4 times.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes.  Repeat cycle 4 times.

WEEK 6

  • Sunday – Run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Monday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 7 mintues, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.

WEEK 7

  • Sunday – Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Monday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle 3 times.

WEEK 8

  • Sunday – Run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice, then run 8 minutes.
  • Monday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice, then run 8 minutes.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice, then run 8 minutes.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice, then run 8 minutes.

WEEK 9

  • Sunday – Run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Monday- OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle 3 times.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle 3 times.

WEEK 10

  • Sunday – Run 13 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice.
  • Monday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 13 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 13 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 13 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat cycle twice.

WEEK 11

  • Sunday – Run 14 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle twice.
  • Monday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 14 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle twice.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 14 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle twice.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 14 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Repeat cycle twice.

WEEK 12

  • Sunday – Run 30 minutes.
  • Monday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Tuesday – Run 30 minutes.
  • Wednesday – OFF or easy walk/cross-training.
  • Thursday – Run 30 minutes.
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – Run 30 minutes.

Source: The Complete Book Of Running, 1997, pages 6-7

Coach Jenny Hadfield’s Beginner Plan

This plan is taken from Shape magazine’s “Ultimate Guide From Running”, and is adapted from Jenny Hadfield’s bookRunning For Mortals: A Commonsense Plan For Changing Your Life With Running.

Week 1

  • Monday – Run 1 minute, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat 6 times.
  • Tuesday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Wednesday – Run 1 minute, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat 6 times.
  • Thursday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Friday – Power-walk at a moderate pace.  30-40 minutes.
  • Saturday – Run 1 minute, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat 6 times.
  • Sunday – REST

Week 2

  • Monday – Run 2 minutes, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Tuesday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Wednesday – Run 2 minutes, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Thursday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Friday – Power-walk at a moderate pace.  30-40 minutes.
  • Saturday – Run 2 minutes, walk 3 minutes.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Sunday – REST

Week 3

  • Monday – Run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 7 times.
  • Tuesday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Wednesday – Run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 7 times.
  • Thursday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Friday – Power-walk at a moderate pace.  30-40 minutes.
  • Saturday – Run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 7 times.
  • Sunday – REST

Week 4

  • Monday – Run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Tuesday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Wednesday – Run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Thursday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Friday – Power-walk at a moderate pace.  30-40 minutes.
  • Saturday – Run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Sunday – REST

Week 5

  • Monday – Run 4 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 4 times.
  • Tuesday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Wednesday – Run 4 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 4 times.
  • Thursday – Cross-train 30-45 minutes.
  • Friday – Power-walk at a moderate pace.  30-40 minutes.
  • Saturday – Run 4 minutes, walk 2 minutes.  Repeat 4 times.
  • Sunday – REST

Source: Shape magazine, October 2007, page 247.  Click here for extended plan from Shape’s website

Jeff Galloway’s 5k Beginner Plan

WEEK 1

  • Monday – Walk or cross-train 20 minutes, or OFF
  • Tuesday – Run 10 minutes
  • Wednesday – Walk or cross-train 20 minutes, or OFF
  • Thursday – Run 15 minutes
  • Friday – Walk or cross-train 20 minutes, or OFF
  • Saturday – REST
  • Sunday – Run 2 miles

WEEK 2

  • Monday – Walk or cross-train 20 minutes, or OFF
  • Tuesday – Run 15 minutes
  • Wednesday – Walk or cross-train 20 minutes, or OFF
  • Thursday – Run 20 minutes
  • Friday – Walk or cross-train 20 minutes, or OFF
  • Saturday – REST
  • Sunday – Run 2.5 miles

WEEK 3

  • Monday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Tuesday – Run 20 minutes
  • Wednesday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Thursday – Run 25 minutes
  • Friday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Saturday – REST
  • Sunday – Run 3 miles (on race course, if possible)

WEEK 4

  • Monday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Tuesday – Run 25 minutes
  • Wednesday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Thursday – Run 30 minutes
  • Friday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Saturday – REST
  • Sunday – Run 3.5 miles

WEEK 5

  • Monday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Tuesday – Run 30 minutes
  • Wednesday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Thursday – Run 30 minutes
  • Friday – Walk or cross-train 30 minutes, or OFF
  • Saturday – REST
  • Sunday – 5k Race!

Source: Runner’s World magazine, July 2007, page 83

Chris Carmichael’s Intermediate 5k Plan

WEEK 1

  • Monday – 3 miles plus 5 x strides
  • Tuesday – REST
  • Wednesday – 4 miles plus 5 x strides
  • Thursday – Rest
  • Friday – 4 miles plus 5 x strides
  • Saturday – 2 to 3 miles; 15-minute core workout
  • Sunday – REST

WEEK 2

  • Monday – 3 miles plus 5 x strides
  • Tuesday – REST
  • Wednesday – 4 miles with 2 x 5 minutes at SS intensity (*see below); 15-minute core workout
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – 3 miles plus 5 x strides
  • Saturday – 5 to 6 miles; 15-minute core workout
  • Sunday – REST

WEEK 3

  • Monday – 3 miles plus 6 x strides
  • Tuesday – REST
  • Wednesday – 4 miles with 3 x 5 minutes at SS intensity; 15-minute core workout
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – 3 miles plus 6 x strides
  • Saturday – 6 miles with the last 15 minutes at SS intensity; 15-minute core workout
  • Sunday – REST

WEEK 4

  • Monday – 3 miles plus 6 x strides
  • Tuesday – REST
  • Wednesday – 4 miles with 2 x 10 minutes at SS intensity; 15-minute core workout
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – 3 miles plus 5 x strides
  • Saturday – 6 miles with the last 15 minutes at SS intensity; 15-minute core workout
  • Sunday – REST

WEEK 5

  • Monday – 3 miles plus 4 x strides
  • Tuesday – REST
  • Wednesday – 3 miles; 15-minute core workout
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – 2 miles
  • Saturday – 2 miles plus 3 x strides
  • Sunday – 5k Race!

*SS intensity: Intervals at Steady State Intensity should be run at a perceived effort of 7 or 8 out of 10.  Do 5 minutes of easy running between SS intensity intervals.

Source: Runner’s World magazine, July 2007, page 83

RunVassar’s 5k Advanced Plan

This plan was created by RunVassar coaches based on experience.  It should not be attempted without some base training.  It may be necessary to spend up to two months building the the 10 mile Sunday run that starts this plan.

WEEK 1

  • Sunday – 10 miles easy.
  • Monday – 6 miles easy.
  • Tuesday – 8 miles easy, at least 3 miles uphill.
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – 6 miles easy.
  • Friday – 3 miles easy, 2×1 mile at 10k race pace, 1 mile rest in between, 2 miles easy cool down.
  • Saturday – 8 miles easy.

WEEK 2

  • Sunday – 10 miles easy.
  • Monday – 6 miles easy.
  • Tuesday – 8 miles easy, at least 3 miles uphill.
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – 6 miles easy.
  • Friday – 3 miles easy, 1 mile at 5k pace, 3 miles easy cool down.
  • Saturday – 8 miles easy.

WEEK 3

  • Sunday – 10 miles easy.
  • Monday – 6 miles easy.
  • Tuesday – 4 miles easy.
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – 6 miles easy.
  • Friday – Fartlek: 2 minutes at 5k pace, 2 minutes off, 1 minute at 5k pace, 1 minute off.  3 cycles.  2 mile cool down.
  • Saturday – 4 miles easy.

WEEK 4

  • Sunday – 12 miles easy.
  • Monday – 7 miles easy.
  • Tuesday – 2 mile warmup.  6 x 2:00 hill.  3 mile cool down.
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – 7 miles easy.
  • Friday – 2 mile warmup.  3 x 1 mile at :10 slower than goal race pace.  2 mile cool down.
  • Saturday – 8 miles easy.

WEEK 5

  • Sunday – 12 miles easy.
  • Monday – 7 miles easy.
  • Tuesday – 2 mile warmup.  12 x 1:00 hill.  3 mile cool down.
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – 7 miles easy.
  • Friday – 2 mile warmup.  6 x 800 at goal race pace.  2 mile cool down.
  • Saturday – 8 miles easy.

WEEK 6

  • Sunday – 12 miles easy.
  • Monday – 6 mile cut-down run.  Start at normal easy pace, and cut down halfway to goal race pace.
  • Tuesday – 6 miles easy.
  • Wednesday – 2 mile warmup.  6 x 400 at :10 faster than goal race pace.  3-4 mile cool down.
  • Thursday – OFF
  • Friday – 3 miles easy, on 5k course if possible.
  • Saturday – 5k race!

Dan Finanger’s Rookie Marathon Plan

This training plan was designed by Dan Finanger, executive director of the Twin Cities Marathon, for runners preparing for their first marathon who have rarely run over 6 miles.  This plan is for the true beginning runner who is hoping only to finish the marathon, with little regard to time.

Week 1

  • Monday – Cross-train (XT) 0-30 min.
  • Tuesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 2-3 miles
  • Thursday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 4-5 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 2

  • Monday – XT 0-30 min.
  • Tuesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 2-3 miles
  • Thursday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 5-6 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 3

  • Monday – XT 0-30 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* (see below) 4-5 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 2-3 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 3-4 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 6-7 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 4

  • Monday – XT 0-45 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 4-5 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 4-5 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 7-8 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 5

  • Monday – XT 0-45 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 5-6 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 4-5 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 8-9 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 6

  • Monday – XT 0-45 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 5-6 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 5-6 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 10-11 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 7

  • Monday – XT 0-60 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 6-7 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 5-6 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 11-12 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 3-4 miles

Week 8

  • Monday – XT 0-60 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 7-8 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 6-7 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 13-14 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 3-4 miles

Week 9

  • Monday – XT 0-60 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 7-8 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 4-5 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 6-7 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 10-11 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 3-4 miles

Week 10

  • Monday – XT 0-90 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 7-8 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 4-5 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 7-8 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 15-16 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 11

  • Monday – XT 0-90 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 6-7 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 4-5 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 6-7 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 17-18 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 12

  • Monday – XT 0-90 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 7-8 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 4-5 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 7-8 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 14-15 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 3-4 miles

Week 13

  • Monday – XT 0-90 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 7-8 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 6-7 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 20 miles
  • Sunday – Easy 2-3 miles

Week 14

  • Monday – XT 0-60 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 6-7 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 5-6 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 14-15 miles
  • Sunday – REST

Week 15

  • Monday – XT 0-45 min.
  • Tuesday – Quality* 5-6 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3-4 miles
  • Thursday – Tempo 4-5 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Easy 10-11 miles
  • Sunday – REST

Week 16

  • Monday – XT 0-30 min.
  • Tuesday – Easy 4 miles
  • Wednesday – Easy 3 miles
  • Thursday – Easy 2 miles
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – REST
  • Sunday – MARATHON

Quality Days Defined

On Tuesdays, choose from one of the following “Quality” workouts.  You should not sprint, but you should be working fairly hard.  Always do a warmup and cool down with these workouts, as well.

  1. Fartlek: Pick up the pace for segments of 30 seconds to four minutes, interspersed with easy-paced segments of similar duration (i.e. 1 minute on, 1 minute off).  Go by time or run them between trees, street signs, or other landmarks during your run.
  2. Kenyan Outbacks: These are like tempo runs – a few miles at a challenging pace – but with the second half much faster than the first.  Example: Run an out-and-back route with the “out” in 20 minutes and the “back” in 17 minutes.
  3. Track Ladders: Do a track workout up and down the distance ladder.  Early in the buildup the ladder range can be 200 to 800 meters; later on it can rise to 800 to 1600 meters.  Example: Run 200, 400, 800, 400, and 200.  Include an equal amount of slow jogging to recover between each faster repeat.
  4. Yasso 800s: In the early weeks of the schedule run six 800-meter repeats with 400-meter recovery jogs.  Increase the number to 10 during peak training.
  5. Hill Repeats: Focus on form, not speed.  In the early weeks, run four to six times up a moderate hill of 100 to 200 meters at an easy effort.  Walk or jog down.  In the middle of the training plan, simply do some tempo and long runs on hilly routes.  Late in the buildup, run three to eight hill repeats of 100 to 400 meters at a medium to hard effort.

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