Running Programs

Running Programs



Why use TrainingPeaks, and is it free?

Yes! TrainingPeaks is free as a platform to use your RP Endurance Training Plan.  TrainingPeaks has a robust endurance training-focused web, mobile, and desktop service with advanced customer support services and loads of premium features available on subscription for collecting and analyzing useful data with GPS and heart rate.  If you’re not a data nerd, then enjoy the completely free delivery of your structured workouts in a mobile-friendly, web-friendly, desktop-friendly, and user-friendly way.

What happens when I get sent to the website?

This is where we are selling and hosting all endurance training programs.  You can review the various options to select a training plan that works for you.  Each one has detailed information with it.  There are 4 levels available, ranked from least experienced to most experienced athletes: Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.  Each are described thoroughly in the individual plan descriptions.

What if I need help using TrainingPeaks?

The TrainingPeaks customer success team is absolutely on top of their game.  They respond promptly and helpfully to all inquiries, and they have a very detailed FAQ and customer support page too, with many links to helpful articles about how to get the most out of your TrainingPeaks plan.

I am having trouble with TrainingPeaks software, website, or app! Where do I get help?

First, check out their FAQ page here:
Then, if that doesn’t solve it, send them an email here:

What happens once I make my purchase?

In the purchase process you’ll need to make a account. Don’t worry, they will take you through every step.  Once you purchase the plan and click the “Apply” button to apply the plan to your account and calendar, you’ll be able to see every workout.  100% of the training plan is handled through TrainingPeaks and their app and website.  No excel documents needed!

Do you offer refunds?

There are no refunds on our templates, training programs, or eBooks. All sales are final. No exceptions.

Once I’ve purchased the plan, where can I find more info?

In the first workout on the first day of the plan (it will say “click here!”), there are two documents.  One is a “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” and one is a “How-To” document.  Download and read both. 

Still need more info?  TrainingPeaks has an awesome help page:

Can I use these if I’m a triathlete or multi-sport athlete?

Yes! You sure can, and the ideal plan for that would be one of the lower-frequency (fewer days per week) plan from either the beginner or intermediate level.

Can I use these if I’m not training for any running race specifically?

Yes, absolutely! If you’re training for general fitness and want to include running, just pick the plan that has a frequency of training and weekly mileage that sound reasonable to you.

Can I use these if I’m training for another race distance?

For sure!  These can be used to train for other distance running events, or even fitness-sport or obstacle course racing.  If you’re training for longer events (up to twice as long), we recommend purchasing one of the higher frequency plans that fits your ability level.  If you’re training for an event that is more than twice as long, we recommend considering purchasing a plan from one level more advanced than you might purchase, and just be sure to take an extra day off, if you ever feel worn down.

Can I use these when losing fat, gaining muscle, or maintaining?

Good news, you can use these templates during any fat loss (cutting) or maintenance phase.  If you are in a fat loss phase, be sure to also be resistance training on a plan like our FPT, MPT, PL, or WL temlpates!  We recommend finishing any muscle gain phases before you start increasing endurance training focus, if you decide a muscle gain phase is for you.  As an athlete who considers endurance performance their primary fitness focus, muscle gain probably wouldn’t be the best idea.

How long do these programs last?

16 weeks - 24 weeks (the latter in case of Marathon training, the former for 5K, 10K and Half Marathon programs). And, more good news: they’re reusable and include detailed instructions in the FAQ document for shortening the plan if you have an event sooner than 16 weeks!  We don’t recommend attempting to shorten it to less than 8 weeks, unless you’ve already been training for running at the Week 13 mileage fairly regularly.  In that case, you could use just the final 4 weeks of the plan as your competition preparation and peaking phase.

How long will these workouts last?

For 5K, 10K or Half Marathons: depending on the level, anywhere from 10-60 minutes as novice, or up to 90-100 minutes for the most advanced.

For Marathons: Anywhere from half an hour to 3 hours.

I procrastinated! And now I’ve only got 8-12 weeks to train for my 5K, 10K or Half Marathon event OR 12-20 weeks to train for my Marathon event. Can I still make use of these training programs?

Yes! You can modify the training program any way you like, but just following certain weeks at a time. Just be aware that injury risk, risk of overtraining or undertraining goes up the more you modify the program.

One way to shorten the overall duration of the program would be to cut out 1 working week from every training mesocycle. It is up to you which week to cut out, but be sure that you’re not biting off more than you can chew! Cutting out a deload week without also cutting out the entire mesocycle that it’s associated with is not recommended. This leads to the second option for shortening the duration of the program to fit your calendar.

The second way to shorten the program is to remove an entire training block. If you remove the first, or one of the middle mesocycles, you may be missing some physiological adaptions that would benefit you in the mesocycles that you plan to complete in your shortened plan. If you are careful about fatigue management and you are willing to back off intensity occasionally, this can be accomplished without issue. If you prefer to move the final mesocycle of the training plan, we recommend that you remove the 4 weeks immediately preceding race-week, but still include race week in your plan. The race week is designed specifically to encourage recovery and peaking for your big day! The tradeoff of removing the final training block is: that is when the most specific training to your race length occurs. But, it is the safest option to do it this way, because you won’t be missing any physiological building blocks.

Why do some of the days listed have non-round distances listed, like 2.98, or 6.47 instead of 3.00 or 6.50?

Some of the training sessions are programmed in meters, instead of miles, the discrepancy between metric and standard units creates small rounding errors in distance. The reason metric is still used for many of the workouts is because most outdoor tracks where workouts are usually performed are 400m around, not 440 yards or an exact quarter mile. If you work out on a treadmill, just run a quarter-mile (.25 miles) for every 400 meters prescribed. If 200m is prescribed, that’s .125 miles. If 100m is prescribed it’s roughly .0625 miles. If 300m is prescribed that is roughly .1875 miles. Please round to the nearest decimal point available on your treadmill distance measurement and all will work out just fine!

Should I put the treadmill at an incline of any kind if I decide to do my running on it, instead of outside?

Yes. Either a .5 or 1 degree incline will work fine to compensate for any lack of activity in your gait created by the treadmill. Do the smallest incline unit of measurement available.

Are the training days set in stone on the calendar or can I shift them to align with my schedule?

There is no issue shifting the week to start on any day other than Monday, where it is traditionally started in your training program. Shifting the training days within the week can also be accomplished if careful attention is paid to how you feel while shifting certain workouts closer to others. This will tend to matter more, the more days per week of training that your plan includes. It is recommended that your hardest running workouts of the week are done in the most recovered possible state, so putting these back to back or immediately after a harder weight training session is not recommended. In general, shifting a training session by one day either way will not make or break your training regimen. And, not all weeks need to be oriented the same, so if you shift one workout on one week, and not the next, that is acceptable.

Is it acceptable to lift weights or do other resistance training/fitness classes on different days than are recommended?

Yes, absolutely! Just pay close attention to how fatigued your legs are after each non-running, and each running session. If fatigue accumulates chronically (over time, day after day throughout a week, or week after week), consider reducing the number of days per week you train, or consider moving one of the sessions of non-running training to after one of your running sessions, to give yourself an extra day of complete rest in the middle of your week. It is not recommended to do very hard lifting sessions 1-2 days before your hardest running workouts of the week.

Are the workouts available in imperial and metric?

You can change the unit system to metric within each workout manually. So yes! They are programmed originally using imperial.

What should I do if I can’t complete a rep during a workout?

If you are unable to complete a rep during a workout because it is an unsustainable pace, complete the rep at whatever pace you can muster, if it is a rep prescribed at 101% of threshold pace or higher, then take 1-3 minutes extra rest before your next rep, such that you’re 100% sure that you’ll be able to complete it. If it is prescribed at anywhere under 100% of threshold pace, and you can’t hold pace, then stop running, and start walking immediately. Walk for 1-3 minutes, such that you are confident you’ll be able to run the rest of the distance at the prescribed pace.

If you are unable to complete a rep during a workout because of pain related to possible injury (nagging pain on one side of your body that is different from the other side, or any painful cracking, popping, snapping, stabbing, tingling, numbness,  etc...) stop running immediately and assess yourself realistically. Begin walking again after 1-3 minutes rest, if completely pain free. If completely pain free during walking, try jogging very slowly. If completely pain free while jogging, try jogging slightly faster. If completely pain free during all jogging, attempt the prescribed running pace once more. If pain is present at all during any of the previous steps, cease running or walking immediately, discontinue workout, and seek medical advice from a physical therapist or orthopedic specialist.

What should I do if I miss or must skip a workout?

If you have time in your schedule to make it up the following day within your training plan, without interfering with the quality of the next training session, you may move the workout to one day later. Otherwise, skip the workout, and continue the training plan as planned on the calendar.

What should I do if I miss a whole week of workouts or more?

If you miss an entire week of workouts due to illness, it is recommended that you complete the previous week of workouts again, unless that previous week was a deload week (deload weeks are those weeks in your training plan where the total mileage run is markedly lower than the previous week, and often intensity is lower as well), prior to moving forward with the missed week of workouts. If the week of completed training preceding illness was a deload week, just start training again with the week of training that you missed.

If you miss a week of workouts due to travel or other life obligations, just move forward immediately with the missed week of workouts when you resume training.

If you miss multiple weeks of workouts in a row, it is recommended that you start the training block over again, starting with the first “working week” of training after the previous deload week, or with the first week of the whole plan, if your absence from training started during the first training block (before the first deload).

If you miss more than 1 month of training, it is recommended that you start the whole plan over again or move at least 6 weeks back in the training to repeat 6 weeks of what had been completed before.

Can I do more sessions of weight training or other fitness training per week, or per day, than are currently listed?

Yes, but be your own best judge of managing fatigue. If you are accustomed to a certain number of total exercise sessions per week, it is not recommended that you increase your total number of exercise sessions per week by more than 1 or 2 per month. For example, if you currently exercise 5 days per week, and purchased a 3-day-per-week beginner plan, we recommend to reducing the other training you’re currently doing by at least one session, if not two or three sessions, per week, so that your total session number weekly stays at 5, 6, or 7 sessions for the first month of using the endurance training program.

When a workout is optional, what does that mean? At what point should I avoid doing that workout?

If you’re seeing a running workout listed as optional, you should only do that workout if you’re confident that while including that workout in your training plan for the week (usually a deload week or peaking/taper week), you’ll be able to fully recover for the next strenuous bouts of training or competition. If you’re feeling run down, or just psychologically not that motivated to train, that optional workout is a great one to not perform. Just stay at home and rest, get caught up on life, and your recovery. You’ll perform all the better in the coming weeks and there shouldn’t be even one iota of guilt associated with taking that day off.

If you’re viewing optional weight training days in your plan, those are when we recommend doing resistance training for enhancing your running performance. Not only is strength training preventative of injury to runners when performed correctly, but it is absolutely performance enhancing. It is highly recommended that you train with weights a minimum of 2 days per week if you are a runner and not in a peaking phase. Even in most peaking phases, for most people, 2 days per week of weight training is warranted, although it should be reduced in volume to facilitate quicker recovery.

What do I do if my race is scheduled on a Sunday, instead of a Saturday?

If your race is scheduled on a Sunday, you can do one of many things to accommodate...

First option: Shift the entire race week by one day and insert a rest day on Monday.

Second option: Shift only Thursday and Friday activities by one day and insert a rest day on Thursday.

Third option: Shift the final 2 weeks of the training program, or an even larger chunk of the training program by one day consistently for the remaining weeks and insert a rest day immediately preceding when you make the shift.

What do I do if my race is scheduled on a Friday, instead of a Saturday?

The best option would be to shift the entire last 4 weeks of the training block one day earlier (leftward on the calendar). If by doing this contraction of your schedule, you create a string of days of running that you are concerned might be overwhelming to recover from, we recommend that you remove one of the running sessions of lesser importance (usually shorter and lower intensity).

What about if my race falls mid-week?

In this case, we recommend skipping the final Monday’s session within the training plan and shifting the rest of the training for the final week leftward, eliminating any excessive training days so that you can always have at least one of the three days preceding your race, completely off from training.

Another solution would be to start the entire training plan on the weekday that falls 2 days after your race is scheduled. If you had a Wednesday night race, you could start your plan on a Friday, an appropriate number of weeks away from your race, and the race day would align well with your schedule.

I like racing more frequently than every 16 - 24 weeks; can I do that with these plans?

Yes, absolutely. Just be aware of which weeks are “deload” weeks in your plan and if you’re trying to perform at your best along the way, schedule your races at the end of a deload week and replace whatever run was planned that day with the race itself. If you plan a race on a non-deload week, be prepared to feel a tad sluggish and not as well recovered as you might be able to be after a deload week or peak. Also, keep in mind that the workouts provided within the training plan progress week after week to prepare you to race at your very best at the end of the training program. Don’t expect big PR’s when your workouts haven’t prepared you specifically for race-readiness yet. That said, you can still PR, especially if you’re newer to running. Go for it!

How often is too often to race?

It all comes down to trade-offs. If you race more often, you’ll be less recovered from your training and quality of training may go down. But if you live and breathe for collecting medals and t-shirts, then by all means, race every weekend. Just know that training program will probably need to be reduced in volume and/or intensity to accommodate your higher fatigue levels. The plan you have purchased is a pre-season type plan, meaning that it gets you in shape for racing by building general fitness, and then race-specific fitness later in the plan. The implications of this are that it’s not meant to with stand more frequent racing than every 4-6 weeks or so. If you are interested in in-season training plans with more frequent race opportunities, that is in the RP pipeline of development. For now, the best option would be seeking a 1:1 coach. Even in an “in-season” or “competition” phase of the year, it is almost never recommended that at an athlete race more than 2 times per month for optimal training and racing performance. For the longer events (half marathon and up), even 1 per month can be too much to recover from.

How do I set my goal time?

Previous PR’s are a great place to start! Shooting for a 5-10% improvement annually for new athletes is fantastic. Advanced athletes may be seeking only 1-3% improvements per year. Elites may only improve <1% on the best of years. Keep those percentages in mind when setting goals. If you don’t have a race time for the event length that you’re currently training for, here is a handy calculator that can provide some insight on what equivalent times might look like:

Bear in mind also, the ‘type’ of athlete you are. Do you tend to be more sprint/power/strength oriented? Or do you tend to enjoy and excel in the longer stuff with less speed? Depending on your answer and whether you’re now racing longer or shorter distance(s) than before, you may need to aim higher or lower in terms of cross referencing previous PR’s for goal-time-setting.

Can I use the 5k training program to train for a 5k but also race a 10k or other distance?

Yes! Just be aware that if you’re racing a longer distance than the training program you’re using, you might not be prepared to push as hard as you like for the entire duration of the race. The more different the race distance is from the training plan distance you’re using, the more this might become an issue. If you’re racing a race that is shorter than the training program that you’re using, you’ll have no problem finishing the race. You might just not be specifically prepared for the more metabolically intense demands of the shorter race, and this effect will be exacerbated, the more discrepant the plan you’re using is from the race you’re racing.

Can I mix and match training plans to prepare me to be an all-around endurance athlete with the range to race well in a 5k, all the way up to a half marathon or marathon?

Yes, you can purchase multiple programs, but it is not recommended that you run two training programs concomitantly. That is, the training programs are not “stackable.” If you’re dead set on mixing and matching, you could choose one workout per week from one of the programs to replace a workout on the same calendar day on a different training program and the results would be a more well-rounded athlete.

Another option for becoming as well-rounded of an endurance athlete as possible would be to purchase a training program that is in the middle of the two distance extremes that you’re interested in training for.

If I’m feeling strong in a workout, can I go faster than the pace or effort level prescribed?

If it is the first rep of the workout, no. If it is a run that is prescribed at 95% of threshold or lower, no. If it is a run prescribed at a 6 on the RPE scale or lower, no.

If you are midway through a set of intervals or a harder threshold bout and you’re confident that if you go faster for the duration of the present rep that you’ll still be able to hit at least the prescribed pace for all the other reps of the workout, then yes, you can go faster. If you are feeling run down at all before the workout however, that is not a day to push paces above what are prescribed.

If I’m feeling very worn down during a workout, but I can hit the pace if I really push, should I still hit the paces as prescribed, and complete the full number of intervals, reps, or the duration of the run?

It depends. If it is an interval workout (>100% threshold pace or a 7 out of 10 on the RPE scale), the purpose is to stress your maximum oxygen utilization capacity. This system is not easily improved without sufficient intensity. You would be better off getting the higher intensity stimulus and cutting the workout short by a rep or two, or each rep short by 200-400m so that you can complete the workout at the appropriate intensity without fading.

If it is a threshold workout (90-100% of threshold pace prescribed), you would be better off keeping the intensity within 90% of threshold pace and completing the full workout or shortening the distance if you must. If the prescription is for higher than 90% for the running bout you’re doing, and you realize there is no way you can hold the pace for the remainder of the set, you should slow down to a pace within the 90-95% threshold pace range that would allow you to continue through the full prescribed distance.

If the portion of a running workout you’re struggling through is a marathon-paced run (80-90% threshold pace), you should pick a pre-determined distance ahead to run the current pace to, and then run at least 800m at as slow of a pace as you like. Once you’ve recovered and had a moment to think, return to marathon pace again if you’re sure that it won’t jeopardize your ability to complete the total distance covered during the whole session. If you’re unsure that you’ll be able to run marathon pace for the whole remainder of prescribed marathon pace work, then run easy pace for the remainder of the prescribed distance.

If it is an easy run (80% threshold pace or under), you may absolutely go slower, and should go slower by whatever magnitude you like so that you can feel recovered for the subsequent training bouts!

I want to learn more about the process! Where can I learn more about the “why” behind my training or about nutrition specific to endurance athletes?

A great book for the basics of endurance running is Jack Daniels’ Running Formula, written by PhD, Jack Daniels.

There is a beefy endurance sport nutrition chapter in the RP Diet Book version 2.0, scheduled for release Summer of 2018. You can expect RP’s reach into the endurance realm to only continue to grow, so be on the lookout for more relevant products!

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