Below is a sample aerobic base conditioning week, followed by sample training weeks based on the previous training plan demo.
Aerobic Base Conditioning: Sample Week
Aerobic base conditioning — the ABCs of endurance training — is the starting point for those with less than four years of training, as well as experienced endurance athletes who may be coming off an extended break from training. Aerobic base conditioning prepares your body for more rigorous training by building endurance and fostering neuromuscular speed. The key workouts are endurance workouts and endurance workouts with alactics, supplemented by recovery workouts and form drills. Here is a sample aerobic base conditioning week for a running plan.
The week includes three endurance runs (two with alactic striders) and three recovery runs (two with drills and the third as optional). The recovery days are scheduled after each endurance day to modulate the training stress and recovery. This is for someone running 6 days/week, but here’s how you could adjust the frequency and volume based on your personal starting point if you’re running less.
- To turn this into a 5 day/week plan, remove the recovery run on Fridays marked optional.
- To turn this into a 4 day/week plan, do one endurance run with alactics, the endurance long run, one recovery run with drills, and one recovery run.
- To turn this into a 3 day/week plan, do one endurance run with alactics, the endurance long run, and one recovery run with drills.
- To adjust training volume, add or subtract time from the runs.
Recovery runs can vary from 20 minutes to an hour. The purpose of recovery runs is to help you recover and stay loose for the key runs of the week. Reduce the time or nix the recovery run on days when you need additional recovery.
Endurance runs (other than the designated long run) can vary from 30 minutes to an hour or more depending on your current training volume. Here, the endurance long run is 70 minutes; but adjust that time up or down depending on your current needs. Choose a long run duration that approximates where you’re currently at; then add a reasonable amount of time to that each week to build up to the long run duration you’d like to achieve by the end of the training block.
VO2max Training: Sample Week
Here is a sample VO2max training week based on the previous training plan demo:
The training week consists of 3 ½ hours of training, including an optional 20-minute recovery run that could be replaced with a day off, recovery walk, or yoga if further recovery is needed.
Since VO2max training involves higher-intensity anaerobic work, the training week keeps the volume low, including the weekend long run, to allow for the higher intensity interval workouts.
There are two VO2max interval workouts during the week with two recovery days between. Assuming the subsequent VO2max week uses a similar daily schedule, there will be a recovery run, relatively short long run, and a rest day after this week’s second VO2max workout before the next VO2max workout. This spacing provides recovery time between those higher intensity sessions.
Advanced endurance athletes may opt for back-to-back days with VO2max intervals, followed by at least two recovery days. If trying this, schedule the harder of the two workouts on the first day.
Lactate Threshold Training: Sample Week
Here is a sample lactate threshold training week based on the previous training plan demo:
The training week consists of 4 ½ hours of training, including an optional 20-minute recovery run that could be replaced with a day off, recovery walk, or yoga if further recovery is needed.
There are two LT cruise interval workouts during the week with a recovery day between them. The third key workout is the weekend long run. There is a recovery day and a rest day before the subsequent week’s schedule begins, providing recovery between the training weeks.
Advanced endurance athletes may opt for back-to-back days with LT cruise intervals, followed by 1-2 recovery days. If trying this, schedule the harder of the two workouts on the first day.
Endurance Training: Sample Week
Here is a sample endurance training week based on the previous training plan demo:
The training week consists of just under 7 hours of training, including an optional 20-minute recovery run that could be replaced with a day off, recovery walk, or yoga if further recovery is needed.
The focus here is on training volume, rather than intensity. There are back-to-back long runs scheduled on the weekend with the first of those being the longer one. During that first one, I would also want to run on a route with a similar vertical change profile to the one for the race.
During the week, there are two workouts that integrate some sub-LT aerobic tempo work. If I am feeling too fatigued going into one of these tempo runs; then I could nix the tempo and turn it into either a regular endurance run or a shorter recovery run.
I noted in the training plan for this endurance training phase that I want to target long runs with vertical profiles similar to the race and work on dialing in my race nutrition.
To compare training routes with the vertical change found in a race route, use this formula:
(vertical gain + vertical loss) / total miles = elevation change per mile
For example, let’s say I’m targeting a 50K race with 8,200 vertical gain and the same vertical loss since it starts and ends in the same place. I plug those numbers into the formula:
(8,200 ft + 8,200 ft) / 31 miles = 529 ft vertical change per mile
This is the vertical change — including both up and down — per mile. I want to try to mimic this vertical change per mile on at least one of my long runs each week during this training phase.
During these long runs, I should also be practicing with the nutrition and hydration plan I want to use during the race. This will allow me to find out what works and what doesn’t work, so I can make adjustments and dial in my nutrition plan well before the race.
Peak & Taper: Sample Week
As noted earlier, tapering is highly specific to the individual. You will need to find what works for you based on your experience. But there are some general guidelines to follow during your tapering phase.
When planning your workouts, reduce your overall training volume with these steps:
- First decrease your training volume without changing the frequency of your workouts.
- Reduce training volume the most at the beginning of your taper and then gradually level off the decreases.
- Maintain the type and intensity of interval workouts — whether LT cruise intervals or VO2max intervals — but reduce the number of intervals.
- Maintain or reduce the frequency of the interval workouts.
During the training phase, you also should focus on getting adequate — and even extra — sleep. Be sure to eat well and stay hydrated.
Here is a sample taper week based on the previous training plan demo:
The training week reduces volume to just over 3 hours, while providing two rest days. It includes some LT cruise intervals to keep the runner sharp, but the number of intervals are reduced from what the runner would normally do. The endurance long run is also shortened.