Basic Holistic Competitor Training Plan

Most race specific training plans do an excellent job of preparing you for a specific race distance on a specific date. But you aren’t always racing. How do you train between races? How do you maintain your fitness when you aren’t competing? How do you integrate recovery into your training plan?  This basic holistic competitor training plan helps you achieve those goals. As a holistic, year round runner, you have different training needs than a single season athlete, such as a cross country runner or a spring track athlete. You run year round, so you need a training plan that addresses your needs as a year round, multi goal runner.

This series of training schedules are designed to meet your needs as a holistic, year round athlete. This series is intended for a basic level competitive runner that has some limited competitive running experience, trains at a low to moderate intensity level and enters a limited number of races per year. If you would prefer a fitness plan we also have a holistic fitness runner plan.

This booklet includes mini training schedules for the following holistic running needs:

Build Up

As a holistic, year round runner you probably don’t need a full build up, but even holistic runners have a starting point or need to rebuild after an extended down time. This build up schedule will take you from a two mile base to a level at which you can perform an eight mile long run. This four week schedule will improve your fitness to the general maintenance level. Use this schedule whenever you need to rebuild a base after an extended downtime.

General Maintenance

This is a general holistic training program that includes multi pace workouts that will maintain your endurance, stamina and speed at a basic level. This program is good for maintaining a base of fitness between races or simply for a basic year round maintenance program. The general maintenance plan is a three week rotating schedule. Simply follow and keep repeating three week schedule, or one similar to it, for the duration of your maintenance training.

5K Peaking

With this 5K peaking schedule you can peak for a 5K race in 4 weeks or less. This mini schedule focuses on goal pace speed and stamina. While this schedule is typically used to prepare for a 5K race it can also be used increase general fitness and speed.

10K Peaking

This peaking plan will get you ready for a 10K race in 4 weeks. If you are at a high level of fitness you may be able to cut this down to 3 weeks. This plan concentrates on improving your goal pace efficiency as well as stamina and lactate threshold.

Half Marathon Peaking

You can be prepared for a strong half marathon in 6 weeks or less using this training schedule. If you have a high level of endurance and fitness you might be able to reduce this to a 4 or 5 week plan.

Marathon Peaking

This marathon peaking schedule includes 12 training weeks. Nearly any holistic runner will be able to successfully peak for a marathon using this 12 week plan. Adjust this schedule to your current level of fitness. It is possible to reduce this to as few as 6 weeks if you already have high levels of endurance and stamina.

General Recovery

Even holistic runners need some occasional recovery from hard racing, long term training or injury. This is a 4 week recovery plan that begins with reduced levels of distance and intensity and then gradually rebuilds your training to a strong 6 mile or 10K level. You can use this schedule for all recovery purposes, but it is especially useful for recovery from a marathon.

Endurance Improvement Emphasis

Do you feel like your overall endurance is somewhat lacking? Would you like to improve your overall endurance? This is a 4 week plan that focuses on improving your overall base and endurance.

Stamina Improvement Emphasis

Is your endurance great and your speed superior, but you have problems with stamina or maintaining a quality pace? This 4 week stamina emphasis schedule will help you improve your stamina and increase your lactate threshold.

Speed Improvement Emphasis

Holistic runners often find that, since they do so many informal and unstructured workouts, their speed begins to drop. This speed emphasis plan will help you increase or rebuild your running speed. This plan focuses on high intensity running with other supporting workouts.

Running Workouts

There are six specific types of running workouts in your program:

Endurance Runs

This type of run is also known as aerobic conditioning. Endurance runs make up the highest percentage of overall mileage for a distance runner. Endurance runs build your overall endurance, increase your blood volume, improve your ability to store energy supplying fuel, and improves the ability of your system to deliver oxygen to your muscles. These workouts are performed at about 55 to 75 percent of your VO2 max (your body’s ability to process oxygen). This pace should feel easy and “conversational” in nature.

Tempo Runs

Tempo runs are moderate to long distance runs that are performed at between marathon pace and about 15 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace. Tempo training intensity is slightly less than lactate turn point intensity. The purpose of tempo running is to improve your ability to run long distances at paces that produce a significant amount of metabolites without the limiting factor of reaching your lactate turn point.

Progressive Runs

Progressive runs are a workout that combines endurance training, tempo training, lactate turn point training and speed training. When performing progressive runs you should start at an easy endurance pace and gradually increase your pace through out your training run. Increase from endurance pace to lactate turn point pace through all but the final 800 to 1600 meters of your progressive run. Then increase your pace to speed pace portion. For example, if you are doing a 6 mile progressive run you should start at endurance pace and gradually speed up to lactate turn point pace through the first 5 to 5.5 miles. Then finish at speed pace.

Lactate Threshold or LT Runs

LT runs are moderate distance, higher intensity training runs that are performed at very close to your 10K race pace or a hard pace. The purpose of these training runs are to improve the ability of your body and central nervous system to deal with the affect of metabolic imbalances.

Speed Runs

These workouts are also known as aerobic capacity training. Speed runs are performed at between 90% and 100% of your VO2 max which is between your 5K race pace and your 3K race pace. Improving this pace will increase your fitness, speed, endurance and speed endurance.

Long Runs

These runs improve your endurance, goal pace endurance and mental toughness. They also improve your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel and conserve carbohydrates. Long runs are performed at an easy pace, goal pace or a combination of the two paces.

Strength Workouts

The second category of workouts in your basic holistic competitor training plan are strength workouts. Strength training is important for runners because it helps prevent injury, improve your impact resistance, improve your running economy and build your speed and power. Strength training workouts fall into one of three types:

  • General Strength – General strength workouts build your overall body strength and provide a base for the more specific types of strength training.
  • Running Specific Strength – These are strength building exercises that target your running specific motions and muscles.
  • Plyometrics – Plyometrics are high intensity strength exercises and drills that are explosive in nature and are great for improving running economy and power.

This basic holistic competitor training plan is presented to you in PDF format. You can move through the pages using your scroll bar or with the PDF viewer controls located at the bottom of each page.