Runners need schedules.
We pencil in—physically or mentally—the day, time of day and mileage for our runs.
And of course, we all follow training plans for when preparing for a race. These are typically 12-week plans that lie out our workouts for us, provided by an online source of a running coach.
We know just how many days we need to run, cross-train and rest, as well as the mileage needed for that specific week.
And then race comes, we finish it and are then left enjoying the freedom of not having a strict schedule to adhere to.
Sometimes we need a break from the racing world and just run for fun and when we feel like it. No rules, no workouts, no pressure.
Why Set A Running Schedule When Not Racing
But after following a plan for three months and then having nothing in place for some time, it’s then time to consider starting up another running schedule. And this doesn’t mean we need to have a race coming up.
It’s a good idea to set up a running schedule when no races are planned for the simple fact that it helps keep us on track to reaching our fitness goals.
Relaxed, easy runs are great. But we don’t want to lose too much of our fitness and endurance over time.
That way when we are back to training, the long miles don’t seem as daunting and the speed work isn’t as dreadful.
Setting a running schedule allows the runner to have accountability for continuing to run without their being and end goal.
It helps make running—and exercise in general—a priority. It allows us to make the time, set the time, and get it done.
What A Non-Race Running Schedule Looks Like
The beauty of this type of training plan is it isn’t really a training plan. It’s more of a relaxed schedule that allows for customization and modification.
Start by deciding how many days the runner wants to workout and how many days are designated for rest.
Then break up the workout days between runs and cross-training.
Here is an example of a running schedule:
Monday: Run 3-miles
Tuesday: Strength training and yoga
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Run 3-miles
Saturday: Run 5-miles
Sunday: Rest day
Adjust the days and mileage as see fit.
While that is a basic running schedule to create, runners can also set more goal-orientated specific schedules. This includes adding in specific kinds of runs to increase overall pace and endurance.
An example of this is as follows:
Monday: Track workout- 4×800 at tempo pace with 1-minute rests
Tuesday: 20-minute easy run, strength train
Wednesday: Rest day, cross-train
Thursday: Intervals for 30 minutes, 30-second sprints, 90 seconds easy pace
Friday: Run hills 45 minutes
Saturday: Long run at an easy pace
Sunday: Rest day
It doesn’t have to be this amount of runs or these exact kinds. The idea is to set exactly the type of run planned for like a fartlek (sprints), a hilly course at a more conservative pace, or a long, slow run.
Aim to get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75-minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Or some combination of the two. Already, the runner is doing their best to live an active life where their fitness is a priority.
In a running schedule, make sure to pencil in two shorter runs and one longer run per week, even if that log run is day 4-miles. Also incorporate hills, fartleks, intervals, and easy runs.
This helps to keep the runner progressing in their journey even though there is no major end goal planned for.
Remember that the runner isn’t training, so allow an extra rest day when needed or change out speed work or distance when seeing fit.
The overall idea is just to create a running schedule that has a set amount of days dedicated to running each week. Planning this out in advance plants the seed in our heads so that we know we have a run coming up and on what day.
We are prepared to get it done and follow through since we see our schedule on a calendar, on our phones, or wherever else we choose to post it.
Then when training comes around again, we are already in the swing of a consistent regimen and ready to start with a new training schedule.