Run Base Training Level 1 (8 Weeks)

Average Weekly Training Hours 02:32
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 02:32
Training Load By Week

This plan is designed for active individuals who are new to running. It assumes no prior running background, but does assume prior involvement in general fitness related activities (e.g. working out at the gym, hiking, etc.). The athlete should have a time commitment of 2-4 hours per week for training. It is ideal for those who wish to start a running program with the aim of eventually participating in running or triathlon events. It also works well for experienced cyclists or swimmers without a running background who wish to add running to their repertoire with triathlon participation in mind.

The plan has four scheduled runs each week with three days off (multisport athletes can use these off days for training their other disciplines). The workouts adhere to the philosophy of building the aerobic base while simultaneously emphasizing the proper neuromuscular patterns (or “speed skills”) needed to prepare the runner for higher intensity training later in the season. The plan alternates a week of increasing volume with a down week to allow the body to recover and absorb the training. The peak volume occurs during week 7 with 3 ½ hours of scheduled running.

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Sample Day 1
0:30:00
Easy Run with Drills

This should be an easy run—it is designed to aid recovery, add to your training volume and to loosen you up for the key runs of the week. Run primarily in Zone 1 (or into bottom of Zone 2). Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds. Don’t worry about pace or distance covered; goal is to feel fresh at the end. This run is ideal to do on trails where you can keep it easy without worrying about time splits. After the initial warm up or about halfway through the run, find a softer surface for skipping and drills, preferably on the infield of a track, a grassy area, or a dirt trail. Spend 5-10 minutes on some skipping (start with some relaxed skipping then alternate for height and for distance as you feel ready to progress), grapevines, high knees/butt kicks. (Note: if you feel overly fatigued going into this workout, then cut back the duration of this run—or take the day off completely. It’s better to truly recover on this day, rather than going into the next key workout unable to give it a quality effort.)

Sample Day 2
0:30:00
Endurance Run with 4 x Striders

This run is designed to build your aerobic system and add to your training base. Run primarily in Zone 2 for the bulk of the run. Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds. At some point during the run, find a good 100 meter straightaway where you can do some striders. Ideally, this will be a softer surface, such as a track, the infield of a track, a grassy area such as a park, or an even section of dirt trail. Do the 100 meter striders with the wind at your back—start off easy and gradually pick up your pace until you’re at full speed by the end. Focus on good form and leg turnover. The sprints are short and should not tax the anaerobic system too much, although they will work the muscular system. These are “feel good sprints” to develop the neuromuscular action needed for true sprint and speed workouts later in the season. Jog 200-300 meters between each strider or until you feel fully recovered and ready for the next one. Don’t worry about time on these.

Sample Day 4
0:30:00
Endurance Run with Drills

This run is designed to build your aerobic system and add to your training base. Run primarily in Zone 2 for the bulk of the run. Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds. After the initial warm up or about halfway through the run, find a softer surface for skipping and drills, preferably on the infield of a track, a grassy area, or a dirt trail. Spend 5-10 minutes on some skipping (start with some relaxed skipping then alternate for height and for distance as you feel ready to progress), grapevines, high knees/butt kicks.

Sample Day 6
0:45:00
Long Run

This is your “long run” of the week where you run primarily in Zone 2 for the bulk of the run (aside from warm up and warm down). It is designed to build your aerobic system and add to your training base. Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds to develop good neuromuscular patterns and running form. Be sure to drink water and electrolytes throughout the run, and take in nutrition if desired. This run is ideally done on a softer surface, such as a dirt trail if available.

Sample Day 8
0:19:59
Easy Run with Drills

This should be an easy run—it is designed to aid recovery, add to your training volume and to loosen you up for the key runs of the week. Run primarily in Zone 1 (or into bottom of Zone 2). Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds. Don’t worry about pace or distance covered; goal is to feel fresh at the end. This run is ideal to do on trails where you can keep it easy without worrying about time splits. After the initial warm up or about halfway through the run, find a softer surface for skipping and drills, preferably on the infield of a track, a grassy area, or a dirt trail. Spend 5-10 minutes on some skipping (start with some relaxed skipping then alternate for height and for distance as you feel ready to progress), grapevines, high knees/butt kicks. (Note: if you feel overly fatigued going into this workout, then cut back the duration of this run—or take the day off completely. It’s better to truly recover on this day, rather than going into the next key workout unable to give it a quality effort.)

Sample Day 9
0:19:59
Easy Run with 4 x Striders

This should be an easy run—it is designed to aid recovery, add to your training volume and to loosen you up for the key runs of the week. Run primarily in Zone 1 (or into bottom of Zone 2). Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds. Don’t worry about pace or distance covered; goal is to feel fresh at the end. At some point during the run, find a good 100 meter straightaway where you can do some striders. Ideally, this will be a softer surface, such as a track, the infield of a track, a grassy area such as a park, or an even section of dirt trail. Do the 100 meter striders with the wind at your back—start off easy and gradually pick up your pace until you’re at full speed by the end. Focus on good form and leg turnover. The sprints are short and should not tax the anaerobic system too much, although they will work the muscular system. These are “feel good sprints” to develop the neuromuscular action needed for true sprint and speed workouts later in the season. Jog 200-300 meters between each strider or until you feel fully recovered and ready for the next one. Don’t worry about time on these.

Sample Day 11
0:30:00
Endurance Run with Drills

This run is designed to build your aerobic system and add to your training base. Run primarily in Zone 2 for the bulk of the run. Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds. After the initial warm up or about halfway through the run, find a softer surface for skipping and drills, preferably on the infield of a track, a grassy area, or a dirt trail. Spend 5-10 minutes on some skipping (start with some relaxed skipping then alternate for height and for distance as you feel ready to progress), grapevines, high knees/butt kicks.

Adam Hodges
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Alp Fitness

With credentials from USA Triathlon and the American College of Sports Medicine, All-American triathlete and XTERRA SoCal Trail Series champion, Adam Hodges, PhD, provides training plans and educational resources to help you achieve success in triathlons, running and life. His coaching vision is based on the belief that the ultimate reward of training is the continual process of self-discovery and personal growth that arises out of athletic challenges. Learn more at alpfitness.com.