How to Start Running | Part 3: Setting a Schedule

10.09.2013




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Can I just tell you guys how much I love this series? 

And not because I wrote it. It's because of the comments you guys are leaving! Seriously. If you aren't taking the time to read the comments on these posts, you're missing out on some great extra tips and advice. I also hope you are enjoying the featured running bloggers section and get inspiration from these awesome ladies!

Okay, so you've decided you want to start running, and you've gotten your gear. Now you need to put together a training schedule. 

Like I mentioned in Part 1, when I first started training I didn't follow an official schedule such as, for example, the couch to 5k program. But even if you make up your own schedule, it's still important to have a schedule of some sort. Otherwise, there's no real motivation to get out there and run. I've had friends try to start running and quit, and I think a huge part of that is because they didn't take the time to plan out a schedule and set a finish goal.

Everyone is different, but the biggest motivator for me is actually signing up for a race. I wanted to run a half marathon, and I was sort of running for a few months, but then I actually signed up, and I was like, dang it. I paid for this thing. It's happening.

Likewise, if your goal is to run a 5k or a 10k or a marathon or whatever it is, I suggest finding a race to sign up for. It will feel crazy, because you still aren't sure you can do it. But isn't that the point? Doing something you never thought you could do? 

Consider this: you will NEVER do it if you don't sign up for it. 
What are you waiting for?
October 2010. The morning of my first half marathon. I was so nervous!

There are a lot of training schedules out there, and when you first start looking it can get overwhelming. My biggest problem is comparing my training to other people. There is always going to be someone faster. We've all heard that line. But something I never expected was the fact that there will always be someone running more

I trained for my marathon running three times a week. I should probably add only three times a week. Most training plans call for four, five, even six days a week. Who has time for that? Not me. And even if I had time, I don't want to run that much. (If you're interested, you can find all my marathon training recaps here and my full marathon training schedule here.) Not that running 5 or 6 times as week is bad, but it wasn't right for me and my running goals.

This is what I had to tell myself when I started my 17 weeks of marathon training: 
Don't focus on what anyone else is doing. 
Run the amount that works for you. 
Stick to the plan. 

I'll talk about this more in the next post in this series, but trying to run more than your body can handle will lead to the one thing every runner dreads: injuries. Just because someone else runs 5x a week doesn't mean you have to or that you even should.

That being said, here are a few good resources for training plans. I like to take a few different plans and combine them into a plan tailored just for me based on my daily schedule and my personal goals.


Training Schedule Resources
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Here's my bottom line: Don't think that just because you're training for a race means you have to run every day. If you want to, that's awesome! More power to you. For me, I run 3x a week, and I feel like it's a great amount for my body and my schedule. It keeps running fun instead of feeling like a chore. 

Find a plan that fits YOU and stick to it. Then, once you figure out how long you want to train, sign up for a race! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Try plugging your distance and location into the Runner's World race finder and see what you come up with! 

Come back next Wednesday for Part 4: 3 Ways to Avoid Injury.

Don't leave before you check out today's featured running bloggers!


< Emily's Blog | Beauty and the Greek >



< Courtney's Blog | Eat Pray Run, DC >
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Are you currently training for a race?
Do you set a schedule for your running?

*I am not a personal trainer or physician. This post is not intended to offer medical advice. Contact your doctor before beginning a fitness routine or if you experience pain while exercising.

25 comments:

  1. I love this series too! I'm thinking about hopping back on the running bandwagon this week! I love the "sign up for a race" advice. (I've already done that.) My only problem is that it's so far away, my brain says, "You've got plenty of time, no need to run today." Yeah, and it's just wrong. Maybe getting a schedule will help with that. I've never tried the schedule thing before - I've always just flown by the seat of my pants and ran what I wanted, when I wanted. It's new leaf turning time, I think :)

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  2. So true about signing up for a race. I signed up for the half I'm going to do this weekend back in July. Knowing that I was going to have to run 13.1 miles (an unthinkable distance at that time) in a few months really helps to get your butt out the door. Little did I know that this race would be a "recovery" week.

    Again, loving this running series!

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  3. You're doing a great job with this series, Amanda! My running regiment kind of sloughed off during all the moving chaos these past couple of weeks, but the place we moved to has a great runner's community and wonderful parks to run in. I just started an "intermediate runner's plan" to help build my endurance. I ran a few 5k's these past few years as I have been running more consistently, but I'm ready to make bigger goals. The town I live in has big marathon coming up in November and though I wont be quite ready for that I am going to do the 5k that accompanies it so I can get a taste of the marathon atmosphere. My goal is to do the half or marathon next November. I may even try to do a half this spring if endurance training goes well. Anyway, I really liked you and your blog for many reasons, but the fact that your a humble and helpful fellow runner is just icing on the cake :)

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  4. I know I mentioned at The Color Run (yes, I was the awkward person that turned around and saw you and said "You're the Lady Okie!" with Holly Peppler and the other blogging girls) that I'm loving this series, but I want to say it again...I am totally loving this series. I've always wanted to be a "runner" and just always feel so overwhelmed by it. Thanks for breaking it down, step by step!!

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  5. Good post girl! This is such good info.

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  6. I would like to hear about when the best time to start running is (season?) or the best time of day to do a run or how you spread out your runs... Do you do speed training once a week and distance the other two or what?

    And for avoiding injuries, I hope you talk about all the different things you can utilize like compression sleeves, etc. I have to use ankle supports (on both ankles!) which looks retarded, but helps me soooo much. And I'm sure you'll talk stretching too. :)

    Good series, Reeses Pieces!

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    1. I would probably say the easiest time to start running is spring or fall, when it's not scorching or blistering cold outside. But I don't know if there's a right or wrong season to start running in. As far as time of day, it really depends on the season and also your personal schedule. I know that's not super helpful :) I personally don't do much speed training, but I know I should. If you do speed training, you should spread it out so you're switching up slower recovery runs with speed work and cross training. And of course take at least 1, if not 2 or 3 rest days/week.

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  7. The best running shape I have ever been in was when I was preparing for Bay to Breakers 12K a few years ago. And the fact that I was signed up for that race was the ONLY reason I was in running shape at all. It would not have happened if I hadn't first signed up.

    -Amy

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  8. I'm excited to check out the other training programs you mentioned; I had great success with C25K. I also need to have a race on the calendar to keep me in the running mindset!

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  9. I'm excited to check out the other training programs you mentioned; I had great success with C25K. I also need to have a race on the calendar to keep me in the running mindset!

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  10. Hal Hidegon's program was super helpful for plotting out my training schedule for my first 5k and 10k. I tweaked and modified for my personal preferences, but it was so helpful to have a backbone. And I'm with ya on signing up for something. It kept me honest and focused!


    eileen ragan | leaner by the lake

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  11. Awesome! This really is a great series! I started with C25K and really enjoyed it! it totally worked for me and now i can say that I am signed up for two runs this month. I am super excited!!

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  12. I remember seeing a link where you could calculate your overall speed with walk / run breaks, like it would tell you if wanted to run a 12 minute mile how often you should run vs. walk. Have you seen that? I can't seem to find it! thanks!

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  13. Love this series!! I am 3xweek girl as well with one of those being speed work outs at the track. I think I would get really, really bored if I started running much more than that in a week.

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  14. I love this series too! I'm going to check out the resources you posted. I've heard of the Couch to 5k Program but none of the others! Thanks for sharing.

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  15. I used Hal Higdon's training for my first 13.1. It was exactly what I was looking for and built up gradually! I recommend that for anyone starting off and just wanting to finish:)

    Cheers,
    Alyson

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  16. I think it's a great point you make about doing what fits you and not what you think you should be doing in watching other runners. My first year or more I dealt with injuries due to trying to do too much too soon to keep up with the more seasoned runners I was running with. Once I backed off some and moved at what was good for me and my fitness level, injuries lessened significantly and I enjoyed running more too. Good stuff you're posting! Look forward to hearing more!

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    1. Thanks! Glad you're liking the series :)

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  17. So glad I found you! Was just thing about starting running to save on a gym membership! Great timing!

    K

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  18. when I started my 9 week Couch 2 5k program, I signed up for a 5k in week 11. I knew that I wouldn't stick with the training if I didn't have a race at the end as a goal! it worked and I've stuck with the mentality - or I just got hooked - and I have six races scheduled between then MCM 10k at the end of this month and my next half in May :)

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  19. The most important thing you say is train how it fits you! I have read training programs, even chatted with someone who wanted to use the 'run 1 minute walk 3, run 2, etc etc' one.

    My training is, run when you can for as long as you can, walk when its too much. I really listen to my body. Breathing, pain in legs, etc. When I need to walk, I walk. When I feel I can run, I run. (bad knees, I really have to be careful not to over-do it. several years back I didn't train this way and couldn't walk up a flight of stairs I hurt my knees so bad)

    I have found I am naturally running a little more each time. PLUS, getting out the door with the comfort of knowing today can be more walk if I need it helps me actually get out the door. As long as you get out the door, you are on your way to a good training program.

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  20. You are so right...signing up for a race is one of the most motivating ways to get my butt in gear! I've used Hal Hidgons training program in the past and I've felt they are very doable and beneficial in preparing for a race. I also like what you said about not having to run every day or whatever. Three times a week is my kind of running schedule, too! :)

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  21. What a great series!!! Everyone needs a good reminder of why (or in this case how) you started and this post came at a great time for me. I have a race this weekend and I'm in the taper dumps!

    Too much too soon is FOR REALZ the biggest thing when starting to run. I know, it happens to me a lot...I get so excited. Shin splints and hip injuries are no joke. Keep loose and remember to ALWAYS stretch those calf muscles when you are first starting. They make everything feel better (or worse)!

    www.runningonplenty.com

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  22. What a great series!!! Everyone needs a good reminder of why (or in this case how) you started and this post came at a great time for me. I have a race this weekend and I'm in the taper dumps!

    Too much too soon is FOR REALZ the biggest thing when starting to run. I know, it happens to me a lot...I get so excited. Shin splints and hip injuries are no joke. Keep loose and remember to ALWAYS stretch those calf muscles when you are first starting. They make everything feel better (or worse)!

    www.runningonplenty.com

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  23. I'm really enjoying this series! Getting back into running is a priority this fall. With a busy two weeks of guests and travel now over, I'm looking forward to making time to put running back into my schedule.

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