How to Create a Training Plan

People often ask me how to develop a training plan or how to make running enjoyable. Here are a few thoughts.


You should always start with writting out your running goals. This can be anything from running a mile without stopping to finishing a marathon.  Identifying your goal is the first step to achieving your goal then establish subgoals.  For instance if you want to run a half marathon, consider racing in a 5K and 10K first. These subgoals will help keep you focused and give you confidence to achieve your goal.


Doing the same thing over and over can be boring and can actually cause injury. All good training plans include variety. A quick way to spice up your training is to change the location/terrain of your runs. Although running in the streets or sidewalk is convenient, consider finding some running trails in your neighborhood. I’ve used Strava and All Trails in the past to find new routes. The softer surface will be easier on your legs and offer a change of scenery.

Another idea is to vary your workouts. You should have at least three different types of runs in your weekly training plan: a long run, an easy recovery run, and a hard effort (intervals, hill repeats, or tempo runs). Each of these has its own purpose which we’ll discuss briefly.

  1. Long Runs: There are multiple scientific benefits to long runs you can read about here, but essentially the long run is important in helping you prepare for your race.  Your long run will vary according to your goal race distance, but it should be no more then 20% of your weekly total mileage.  The pace should be easy too, you should be able to hold a conversation the entire run.  The goal of the long run is to prepare you legs and brain for the race.
  2. Easy Recovery Runs: These will make up the majority of your weekly runs. They should be as easy and slow as you want them to be. The emphasis is on recovering from your hard effort runs.
  3. Hard Efforts: Hard efforts help develop your aerobic and anaerobic threshold. This is done by running at or near your goal race pace. Some of the most common workouts that do this are listed below.
    • Fartlek– Aside from sounding funny, this is the most basic workout for runners. Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “speed play”.  Its a great way to introduce hard effort or pace training for beginners. You can visit here to learn more, and get some ideas.
    • Interval Training– Lets say your goal is to run a 5K in 18 min.  A good workout would be 12 x 400m. Each rep should be run at a 6 min pace (90 second laps), with a recovery time of 2 min between each rep. This is also a good way to practice the pace you want to run.
    • Hill Repeats – Hills help your legs build endurance and stamina. Find any hill and run 10 – 15 repeats for a duration of 15-45 seconds depending on your comfort level.  When considering recovery you can walk or jog down to the bottom of the hill, then go straight into your next rep.
    • Tempo Runs – A tempo run is a great workout for intermediate and experienced runners, and also simulates race pace. The idea is to run each mile of the workout at or near race pace, and get progressively faster each mile. An example for someone training to run a 10K in 48 min would  look like this:  1 mile warm up/8:20 mile/8:15 mile/8:10 mile/8:05 mile/8:00 mile/7:55 mile or faster/1 mile cool down.


Keeping yourself accountable during training can be tough. Having someone to run with makes it easier; someone to share the miles with, or give you a little motivation when you’re tired. Next time you sign up for a race, bring a friend with you and train for it together.

Take some time, and create your own plan with these points in mind, and remember we are always here to help you answer questions!

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Nutrition And How To Use It On A Run

Full disclosure: I’m not a sports nutritionist. I’m not a food scientist either. I’ve just run 17 marathons, 3 Olympic Trials, and a Pan-American Games among them. I have been fortunate enough to hear some of the world’s best sports nutritionists speak and I’m going off of my notes, knowledge, and experience. I hope this can help some of you in your upcoming endeavors.

A marathon is a long race. I shouldn’t be letting some guarded secret out of the bag when I say that. It’s the kind of race that requires caloric intake whether you’re elite or a fitness jogger. The makeup of those calories as well as your body’s familiarity with the source can be a determining factor in whether you spend half of your distance hunting the next port-o-potty or chasing your goals.

The human body can store about 2000 calories in the form of glycogen in the muscles; it has another 350 or so calories in the liver for essential functions to be maintained; the last reserve of calories comes from fat stored on your body.

Glycogen is the fastest source of calories, but it can only take you for about 2 hours. Fat is the most abundant source of caloric energy. When you’re just out for an easy run on a flat path, fat is providing over half of the energy you burn. If you change gears to run up a steep hill or run a faster pace, your energy system also changes pace, to glycogen.

Ideally, you should also be consuming fluids when exercising as well. Those can come with or without calories attached. Drinks like Tailwind, Skratch Labs, or Gatorade will provide calories AND hydration in one step. If you are one of the many people with a sensitive stomach that won’t allow that to comfortably stay down (or in from either end), try a calorie free or low-calorie option like SOS Hydrate, Nuun, or good old water. Just remember that non-caloric options will require those precious calories to come from another source.

Other sources of calorie-on-the-go that runners use include energy gels, chews, or bars. I even know a guy that used peanut butter M&Ms to power his way through the Leadville 50 miler last year (me).

The biggest thing is to practice your intake on training runs. Practice first on short runs at an easy pace. Start simple first. If you’re someone who knows you like Gatorade, go for it! Be aware though that your body will react differently when it is under the stress of running. I spent years with one fluid and my body began to reject it over time. This is one of the imperfect experimentations that makes running so fun and maddening all in one. Something may work great on an easy run and not be tolerable at all after an hour. Try new things. Have fun with it. Keep track of what you’ve tried and if it made you sick, sluggish, or otherwise unwell.

That’s my advice to help you fuel your best performances. Feel free to drop in and chat with us in the store as well for more specific advice. We ARE here to help. Good luck, everyone!


  • Endure Bites
  • Honey Stinger (Chews, Honey Waffle, Gels)
  • NUUN Hydration
  • GU (Engergy Gel, Stroopwafel)
  • Tailwind
  • Skratch Lab (Fruit drops, Hydration Mix)
  • V Fuel
  • Accelerade

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Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching

When it comes to your warm up and cool down you should be incorporating dynamic stretching as a warm up before–and static stretching as a cool down after–running, hiking, playing sports, or any other active lifestyle. Dynamic stretching consist of running the muscles and ligaments through a continuous movement, while static stretching consists of holding a position for an extended period of time.

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Petzl Headlamps

Now that winter and daylight savings have arrived its the perfect time to invest in a headlamp.  It’s especially ideal for the runner who goes out the door early in the morning, or later at night after work. All the headlamps we carry are water resistant, and operate on AAA batteries (batteries are included).  We carry four different models of headlamp from Petzl listed below with their functions.  The point to highlight is that the more lumens a headlamp has, the further and brighter you can see; however, if you use the full lumen power, the battery life will not last as long.

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