Build Your Training Plan Like A Professional Coach

Here are three key things to consider when building your own training plan.


When it comes to a training plan, there is so much information out there that it can be hard to know which to follow. From pre-written plans to endless pages of advice, we decided to go right to the source and get you tips directly from a trainer’s mouth.

Rose Wetzel is a personal trainer, running coach, Reebok Spartan obstacle racer and American Ninja Warrior. She has written training plans for half and full marathoners and was Director of Endurance Event Training for the American Cancer Society. She shares that when approaching a training plan, a number of things come into play, including where you are in your previous running and the exact distance and type of race you want to train for.

Define Your Goals

Wetzel explains that one of the most important parts of a training program involves two types of goals: performance and outcome. “An outcome goal would be something like qualifying for Boston or wanting to run a half marathon in under 2 hours,” explains Wetzel. “Performance goals are often overlooked, however. These include things such as wanting to keep good form, especially in the last quarter of a marathon, or having a smile on your face during every race photo.”

Give Yourself Enough Time

Depending on the race length, there are general rules of thumb on time to prepare for a race. “For a 5K, depending on where someone is coming from, it is goot to have 1-3 months to train,” shares Wetzel. “For a half or full marathon, 12-15 weeks of training is optimal—remembering that with a full marathon, you need to get at least 18-20 miles in before race day.”

Vary Your Workouts

Even if you are training for a shorter race, Wetzel says you should have a long run day in your schedule. Additionally, she recommends that you include an interval day. “This should be a day where you run shorter increments at race pace, so your body can get used to what that pace feels like,” she reasons. Be sure to include fartleks—or “speed play”—especially if you have a shorter race, and should your course have hills, be sure to do some runs on hilly terrain to prepare your body.

Did you love these tips? Here’s some more:

12 Marathon Training Tips For Time-Crunched Runners

4 Reasons Why You Need A Training Journal