In need of the perfect training plan for you? If you can't hire a coach, here's what you need to know to build your own training schedule.

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There are hundreds of training plans available in books and on the internet, yet it can still be difficult to find one that is your perfect match. The plans you’ve found might have too many days of running, too much mileage or don’t include cross-training days.

Since you’re an educated runner who knows what you need out of a training plan but can’t find one that works for you, you can either hire a coach (which I highly recommend!) or you can create your own training plan.

Creating your own training plan is a great way to include the things you know work well for you and leave out the things that don’t work well. It allows you to build a realistic training schedule that works with your life.

Building your own training plan might sound a bit overwhelming, but if you follow these ten steps, you can build a plan that will lead you to success.

10 Steps For Building Your Own Training Plan

  1. Review your past training logs. Make a list of the workouts that made you feel confident and strong. Make a list of workouts that challenge you the most.
  2. Determine how many weeks you need to train for and then add on one more week to that number as a cushion. If you get sick or life gets extra busy one week, you’ll still have time to build the fitness you’ll need for race day.
  3. Look at your personal schedule for the time period you’ll be training for. How many days per week can you realistically train? How much time on each of those days can you block off for training? This will determine how many days per week you run, cross-train and rest. Make sure your schedule includes at least one rest day and one strength training day.
  4. Create a spreadsheet in Google Docs or Excel and start typing out your schedule. Make a weekly calendar of workouts for the number of weeks you’ll be training.
  5. Block off any dates or days you know you cannot workout or train and make those rest days.
  6. Fill in any tune-up races you have scheduled.
  7. Sketch out your long run build up and include an easy week every fifth week. To play it safe when doing this, refer to a few different training plans written by reliable sources to help you know how to properly progress.
  8. Schedule the key workouts you identified in step number one.
  9. Add cross-training days to the schedule. Remember an extra day off running and skipping strength training is not advantageous in the long run.
  10. Fill in the remaining days with easy runs and rest days. At least 50 percent of your mileage should be easy and one day per week should be a rest day.

Using established training plans from reliable sources to frame writing your own training plan and then applying these steps will allow you to write yourself a personalized training plan that works well with your life and your goals.