|Today, we wanted to talk you through some of our most common questions we get about training as well as our own training plans.When you don’t have one-on-one coaching, it’s not always easy knowing what to do in instances of sickness, missing a workout, or having to adapt a training plan. Hopefully these answers will help guide you in your training!|
Note: This is a longer read, so we’ve highlighted the questions in red, so you can skim for something you’ve always wondered yourself.
Q: What do I do if I get a 16-week training plan, but I only have 13 or 14 weeks until the race?
A: This partially depends on your overall fitness level. If you already feel like you have a good base and you don’t need a base, just remove the first couple of weeks. For most of our training plans, the first couple of weeks are focused on easier mileage, with maybe a lighter workout every couple of days. This is more so to prepare you for the weeks to come and make sure you have the base needed to really thrive using the training plan.
Now, say you feel like you don’t have a good base and you need those first couple of weeks to build your aerobic base back up. Our suggestion would be to look at the plan, ask yourself what you feel like are your running strengths (e.g., good at long, sustained tempo work), then ask yourself what week of the training plan would best suit your strengths, and those are the weeks that you could look at skipping. Focus on the weeks that are addressing your weaknesses that you feel like you need to work on.
It’s important to understand that with a question like this, there’s a lot of individual variables at play, such as the aforementioned aerobic base and your strengths and weaknesses as a runner. For Higher Running training plans, we usually try to help you feel as ready for the training plan as possible by showing you the prerequisites even before you purchase the plan (e.g., To use this plan, we suggest you’ve comfortably been running 25-30 miles per week all easy pace to be able to handle the volume). Don’t feel like you have to follow the training plan exactly to a tee, as they’re designed to be flexible, but these are all things to consider when trying to complete the training plan in a shorter amount of time.
Q: My main goal is to race a 100km race at the end of my 16-week training plan, but I also want to do a 50km race halfway through the training plan. What should I do in that situation?
(Or in situations where I have a B race halfway through training for my A race – choose you distances of choice)
A: We get this question a lot, and our thought is that even after a 50km, you’ll have to take recovery seriously. This means the week after the 50km you’re going to have to take it easy. You shouldn’t worry about the workouts or prescribed mileage, as you might not even run for most of the week. If you do run, focus on easy mileage. Then, your 2nd week post 50km, this is where you have to know yourself and be honest how you’re feeling. Some people may be able to jump in right where they left off. Others may still need to take it easy or reduce the volume of both the workouts and prescribed mileage.
You have to be really careful in the recovery and honest with yourself. Did you race this super hard and it’s going to result in 2-3 weeks of residual fatigue? It’s important to ask yourself what your true goal is, so if the 100km is your A goal, and the 50km is more of the “tune up” race, you could just use the race as a training effort like a long-run workout. (But it will still be a super hard workout regardless). Ultimately, don’t set expectations what you want your training to look like for the next 1-2 weeks post 50km race. Don’t try to push through the pain because you think it’ll help, because it will most likely end up hurting your 100km performance if you start things up too quickly again.
Q: If I get injured somewhere in the middle of a training plan, how do I come back? Do I start from zero? Do I jump in right where I left off?
A: This is going to vary from person-to-person and injury-to-injury. If you’re injured for a long time (several weeks), you’ll probably have to start from the beginning or even take a couple of weeks to even start truly training again. However, if you only have to take only a couple of days off, you might be able to jump in where you left off. Say you take off Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and feel good enough to run Thursday, you can probably treat it as an easy to moderate run and reduce the volume of the run. Then for the next couple of days you still would reduce the volume and intensity of the run/workout.
Q: Okay, that makes sense about injury, but what about getting sick?!
A: This will vary depending on the sickness. If it’s just a cold and you have to take a day or two off, don’t worry about losing too much fitness. If it’s something more serious like the flu and you have to take a week or more off, you will probably have to ease back into things with reduced run volume and intensity. Depending on when the sickness or injury occurs, you could also just do an extended taper leading up to the race if your cautious and being honest with yourself.
All in all, if you happen to miss a few workouts or runs because of injury, sickness, or even life, it’s not going to totally derail your training. Yes, it might take you a couple of days to get back into the swing of things, but we’ve actually seen a lot of people improve significantly after a few extra days off because of the rest their body needed.
Q: Should I be weightlifting? If so, how would I incorporate this into my run?
A: There can be a lot of different approaches to this, but we can tell you what we typically do.
We like to do our strength/lifting sessions the same day as a speed workout. The optimal way to do it would be to first do the hard run, and then the weightlifting session later on in the same day. This way you’re keeping your hard days hard, and easy days easy.
Other programs say to fit in the weight training when you can, no matter where it falls. Again, we don’t do this ourselves, but you can always try it to see if it works for you. The one concern we have here is that if you do a strength training session, you may be too fatigued to fully benefit from a quality run session later in the week. Another potential risk we see with this method is your body being too tired from weightlifting, resulting in improper form during your speed sessions, and ultimately ending in injury.
We would say there is a difference for lighter core work sessions. These tend to not be too strenuous on the body, so we will fit these in whenever is convenient (usually aiming for 2-3x a week). Just know it’s okay to experiment with what method works best for you, we are more so just telling you what we’ve found to be successful in our own running.
Q: If something comes up in the middle of the week and I have to change my runs around, how do I go about that?
A: Our #1 tip for this is to never stack back-to-back speed workouts or even back-to-back long run workouts. Always have one easy day in between these key sessions. If it’s a really hard workout, you might even need 2-3 easy days in between. We know that the days we’ve scheduled a key speed session or long run in the training plan isn’t always going to work for everybody’s schedule. If you are losing some training days and/or time, you may have to skip a workout here and there. But our training plans are designed where a single workout is not designed to be “the” workout you need to do in order to make gains.