Getting Started: Training Plan Basics

Getting Started: Training Plan Basics

Training Plan Basics

You took the plunge and signed up for a race. Now you need to train for it. Before you hit the ground running, you need to make sure you have proper running shoes and gear. find a training plan that’s right for you and the distance you plan to race.

If you’re new to racing, it is wise to select a training plan for beginners.

Even on beginning plans though, you might come across terms you aren’t familiar with. No worries, we’re here to help! Here are some basic training plan terms and what they mean:

Before we talk about running, every training run should start with a dynamic warmup. This type of warmup gets your running muscles loose, fired up and ready to go, and also helps prevent injury.

Training plans are typically comprised of 3 types of runs: Speedwork, Tempo Runs and Long, Slow Distance

Speedwork or Speed Intervals. These runs are ideally done on a track, but can also be done through your neighborhood, on a path or even on a treadmill. Use a watch (or the treadmill display) to measure your distance. Typical interval distances are 400m (1 lap), 800m (2 laps) and 1600m (4 laps or 1 mile).

The workout on your training plan might be something like:

1 mile easy warmup

4x400m (these 400m intervals are where you pick up the pace)

90 seconds walk or easy jog between intervals

1 mile cooldown jog

Fartleks (Swedish for speed play) are a more casual form of speedwork where you intersperse periods of faster running with slower running. You might pick up the pace for a specified period of time (for example one light post to another), then slow down to an easier pace.

Tempo Runs are similar to speedwork, but less intense. They train your body to run “comfortably hard” for extended periods.

Long Slow Distance will make up the majority of your training miles. LSD runs should be done at a pace easy enough so that you can hold a conversation. Slow-paced miles will help you build up endurance.

You might also find days on your plan that call for cross training. Cross training activities are a great way to continue building fitness while giving your running muscles some recovery time. Cycling, swimming, strength training, hiking and yoga are all effective cross training activities.

Equally important to the workouts on your training plans are the REST DAYS. When you complete a tough workout, you make micro tears in your muscles. Good recovery habits, including taking in plenty of protein, getting enough sleep, and allowing your body to rest, help your muscles rebuild and get stronger.

By Marcia Kadens, Certified RRCA Running Coach and author of Marcia’s Healthy Slice

About ZOOMA. ZOOMA Women’s Race Series has been purposefully designed to be a supportive running community for women. The ZOOMA community is made up of all types of women who seek to achieve athletic and personal goals and support each other while doing so. Destination race weekends around the country are featured and are a perfect time for women to gather their friends for running with a fun post-race party, yoga, massage and other fun activities. ZOOMA also offers online challenges and ongoing training support.

ZOOMA race weekends are always filled with fun and incredible support and we’ll be there with you every step of the way - through your training, before race day and after race day.

The ZOOMA race series includes locations in Florida, Texas, Cape Cod and now Bermuda. Visit or

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