How to Make a Training Schedule for Running That Fits You


Some of my many running books.

How I made my schedule in the past:

1. Buy many running books looking for magic tips on how to run.

2. Put running books on shelf in library dedicated to running books.

3. Dust off books (trying to figure out who you lent the missing ones to).

4. Ask your running friends what schedule they are using.

5. Use whichever running friends’ schedule sounds easiest…

So, my approach has kind of worked in the past, but I’m hoping to do a better job this year. I’d like to get a PB in a half marathon this fall. So, I dusted off my running books again. I figured out where the missing one is (it’s okay Tab – I don’t need that one). Then I started looking at the training programs and comparing them to what has worked for me in the past.

I’ve tried running 5-6 days a week, like the programs in the book “Running” by Jim Stanton, and although I got good results as far as time, I ended up with injuries and I wore myself out. Mainly I think this is because I am now an over 40 runner.  What I did like about it was that it was very structured, and I need that or I slack off. Last year I tried programs from the Runner’s World “Run Less Run Faster ” book. I liked this program because you do 3 key runs a week, which is great for my old lady body. The speedwork workouts were really effective, but if there was any workout I would ever skip, it would be that one because, well, they are hard. I was also supposed to do cross training two other days, but I’m not a swimmer, or a biker, or a rower, so I kind of failed at that part of it. I think it is a very effective program – and a couple of my friends use it and really like it, however, I think I need something a little different.

So, what’s my plan for this year?

Well, I purchased a book in the last couple of years called “Run Faster, From the 5k to the Marathon” – how to be your own best coach. It talks about “adaptive running” and finding out what works for you.  After looking into it again, frankly, I decided I needed to stop being lazy and take the time to do a specific plan that works for me.

The book has many training plans, most that include 6 days a week of running, and it has a large section dedicated to schedules to get your Boston Marathon qualifying time. Near the back of the book, however, I found a chapter on “Adaptive Running for Youth and Masters Runners”.  There was a 10k training schedule that had 3 runs a week, a day of cross training (I can perhaps hike, bike or do a fun trail run) 3 days of core work and a day off. I combined this schedule with their Intermediate level Half Marathon training schedule by swapping out the long runs in the 10k training for the long runs in the Half Marathon training. I also decided to add a session of Yoga on two of the Core workout days. I already have my favorite yoga video picked out:

Now I just need a core strengthening workout…


A sample page of my training schedule.

The 3 main reasons why I think this plan will work for me are:

  1. The 3 key runs are incorporated, but they are varied. There are long runs, progression runs, anaerobic hill intervals, ladder workouts, threshold runs, speed intervals, fartlek  and specific-endurance intervals.  Having variety in my workouts makes me dread them less. If I can’t anticipate the pain, it doesn’t feel as bad. 🙂
  2. I have a detailed plan with all my workouts penciled in every day. Having my core workouts and yoga planned along with my runs makes it more likely that they’ll get done. That’s just how I am, I love checking things off… I NEED to check things off…
  3. The idea of “adaptive running” includes knowing when you should switch out one workout for another. If you wake up feeling terrible, then your long run or speedwork won’t be very productive. Alternatively, waking up in the mood for a big workout and only doing a core session isn’t productive either. This training method encourages you to be comfortable with rearranging your runs when necessary as long as you get it all in. This is good for me, because I normally end up feeling like I failed if I don’t do things when my plan says to do them.

The bottom line is, there are many great books out there and many great training plans. I would recommend all 3 of the books I mentioned above. But, by taking into consideration your personality, your past experience and your abilities, you can – with a little work – devise a plan that is perfect for you and find your true running potential.

You can figure out how to be your own coach and, perhaps, run faster than you ever thought possible! (that’s the plan anyways 🙂 )

SO… what training schedules or tips have you benefited from. And does anyone know of a good YouTube video for core strengthening they can recommend?




I’ve Got My Tight Pants On

You know, I’ve just always felt more comfortable having my butt camouflaged in black compression tights. I love all those funky bright tights, but I usually feel more comfortable in black. However, maybe because running marathons over the last couple of years has given me a new appreciation of my butt, (if it’s gotten me through a marathon, I shouldn’t be so worried about what it looks like, right?), my black tights are now nestled beside red, bright blue and pink pairs of running tights.

This post is about my red tights… and what I do when in my red tights ever since I saw the above video.


(My red Lululemon pants)

On a day when I am feeling especially fit, I’ll put on my red Lululemon pants and start humming the song. If my kids are lucky enough to be nearby, they are treated to the song being accompanied by me in my red pants and running shoes doing my version of Will’s dance.

Thankfully I have no pictures or video of this. 😉

I usually hear “Mom, no” or “Nobody is talking about your red pants!” But, my red pants (and that video) always make me leave for a run in a great mood.

Do you have any running gear that brings a smile to your face?

– Jackie – Jackie

Coping with a Running Injury


The mountains in Vermont are beautiful – but they hurt your calves 🙂

Around the middle of December I pulled my calf muscle. I didn’t really realize how bad it was at first, so I started a cycle of waiting a few days until the pain stopped, going out for a 5k and ending up in pain again. I finally realized at the end of December that it was a serious injury, of course I had already signed up for the Resolution Run on January 1st, so because runners are slightly crazy, I ran it – although I did take it easy.

I found out from my research that with this type of injury, you need to take a couple of weeks off from running.  When you start back up again, you have to ease slowly back into it. My first run on January 16th will have to be only 10 minutes long, gradually building up to 20 minutes, then 30 minutes etc.  I’m finding it particularly difficult to deal with this since I have a 30k race planned for the end of March. Going out for a 10 minute run when your running schedule says you should be doing a 20k will be hard to stick to.

When you’re recovering from a running injury you really notice how large a part of your life running is. Dealing with the pain of the injury is often not as difficult as coping with the frustration of having to put your running plans on hold. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from fellow runners on how to cope with a running injury:

  1. Use time off from running as an opportunity to work on core strength. This is something that many runners (like me) fail to work on. Along with the plank challenge, I found a really good video on ab exercises for runners, 5 minutes a day will do a lot of good. I’ve also found a Yoga for Runners video and a (not so) Beginners Yoga video that I’m finding quite challenging. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to touch my toes someday. 🙂
  2. Talk to other runners. I’ve been checking out some online runners forums and talking with my running friends. It’s good to know that a lot of people have been there and feel the same way. I’ve also got some great advice on what to do when I’m not running and how to get back into it.
  3. Keep active. Biking and swimming are good suggestions to keep active when you’re not running, however since I live in Southern Ontario, biking in the snow isn’t an option and I can only swim far enough to get myself out of a pool I’ve fallen into. Through my research I have found out that Kettle Bell workouts can be a great form of cardio so I’m going to incorporate those into my workouts at least until I’m back up to my normal mileage.
  4. Find other stress relieving activities. Running is definitely a great form of stress relief. Going out for coffee with friends, enjoying a crossword puzzle or getting a relaxing (or therapeutic) massage can help you deal with your stress and fill the running void.
  5. A sense of accomplishment. Start and finish a project that you’ve been wanting to do for some time. Getting something done around the house or finally finishing that knitting project will give you a sense of accomplishment that we often get from races.

Although this injury has set me back a bit, I’m hoping to make the best of it and come out ahead with a stronger core, more flexibility and feeling refreshed.

Have you ever been sidelined with a running injury? What have you found helps you cope?

– Jackie – Jackie

You want me to do what? Attempting – and kind of failing – Yoga.

Since I injured my leg and I have take a short break from running, I’ve been doing some yoga. For two days in a row, I did a 25 minute Yoga for Runners, I really enjoyed this video and it went well, so today I decided to do a 50 minute Free Yoga Class Vinyasa Flow All Levels Beginners Athletes Runners (that’s me right?).


Most of it was fine. Although I can’t come close to touching my toes, I found that there were a number of poses that I was surprised that I could do well. Until all of the sudden, she threw in something she called crow pose…

… and I found myself in a giggling, crumpled pile on the floor. Does that look like a beginner yoga pose? Mandy says they do that pose in the P90X videos and they tell you to wait in child’s pose if you aren’t experienced enough to do it.



I feel safe in child’s pose…

Other than that I really enjoyed it. The 50 minutes went by fast. I also think yoga is helping my running injury. I’m going to that video again. And I’m going to do it until I can do that pose!

Oh, and since I did it in front of a large mirror and I know what I look like, I am also never, EVER, doing yoga in front of anyone…


(hoping I can get closer to my toes than this by the end of the month)

– Jackie –Jackie