2016 Three Phase Plan

Long Term Plan for 2016

In order to help new and experienced runners develop over 2016, one of our coaches, Michael, has devised the following plan and has shared it here for the members to follow.

The general aim of the plan is to improve your ability to run an increasingly longer distance over the course of the year. The plan is split up into three phases:

Phase 1: Improve 5k Time (Speed)

Phase 2: Improve 10k Time (Speed/Endurance) To be posted in February

Phase 3: Improve Half Marathon Time (Endurance) To be posted in June

With the general idea being to improve your speed first and then build on that newly found speed to run a 10k and then, a half marathon.

The first three months of the year will be used to build up speed with the aim being to run a fast parkrun or 5k race in March or April. Then, building on that speed in run a fast 10k in July or August. Before finally, finishing the year by running a fast half marathon in October or November.

The races which are recommended for a PB attempt are:

5k: The New Marske Harriers Coast Road 5k Series, Hartlepool or Albert Park parkrun and the Middlesbrough 10k

10k: The Everyone Active 10k, Darlington 10k, Tees Pride or York 10k

HM: The Great North Run, Redcar Half Marathon, the Lancaster Half Marathon

Although this is not an exhaustive list and members are encouraged to find a race which suits themselves.

parkruns and Racing

A word of caution about over racing and over estimating your ability to recover and perform. Whilst parkrun are a great event and organisation, I would not recommend blasting out a parkrun every week in order to get that PB as the law of diminishing returns quickly will hit. We’re aiming for steady progress over a longer period of time and improving you as a runner. If you’ve worked hard on a Saturday, you’re unlikely to be able to get the best out of your long run on a Sunday. In a similar vein, over racing and attempting to “run hard” every weekend at a race isn’t really advisable when following a long term plan. Pick and choose your races and focus on making a real effort at a single race which you build up towards.

Training Groups

Through training on a Tuesday and Thursday night or communicating with other runners on social media, it is much better if you find someone to run with of a similar pace, target or ability. Training with others makes it more likely for you to stick to the plan, not skip sessions and push yourself in training.

Healthy Eating

The less you weigh, the less you will have to carry around with you when you run. It’s pretty much as simple as that. If you try to eat healthier and exercise properly, the weight will (slowly) come off. I’m not a qualified dietician so I can’t offer any advice beyond common sense on diet. Try not to eat too much and make sure you eat enough to fuel yourself so you can run and recover.

NHS Choices on Healthy Eating

Cross Training

Swimming, biking, yoga, low weight resistance training, pilates and walking are all good ways of doing active recovery on your rest days.


Phase 1:  Speed Work

The beauty of the 5K run is that it takes all comers. It’s the perfect introductory distance for novice racers, as well as a challenging test of strength and speed for the most competitive runners. The 5K race can also be a useful part of a larger training program, building speed for runners who primarily run longer distances. No matter what your ability, a hard 5K run tests your capacity to maintain a fast pace over distance.

From Cool Running

From January through to April, we will be alternating through a two week training cycle (Week A & Week B). This has been adapted from the Strava/Macmillan training plan. The club offers two coached training sessions a week; as you develop in strength, maybe both could be completed in a single week. Novice and intermediate runners would be best placed focusing on one key session a week.

It is up to the individual to decide how much they want to push themselves in training but generally, the Jack Daniel’s training paces work well for most. I’ve included their race calculator below.

Training Paces

Easy Pace

Variety: Easy pace running refers to warm-ups, cool-downs , recovery runs, recovery running within a workout and generally long runs.

Marathon/Long Run Pace

Variety: Steady run or long repeats

Tempo/Threshold Pace

Variety: Steady, prolonged or tempo runs or quicker paced medium length runs.

Interval Pace

Intensity: Intervals are “hard” but not all-out running by any means. Usually at a pace that you could maintain for about 10-15 minutes in a serious race. Intervals are best if they involve runs of 3 to 5 minutes each (800m and 1000m workbouts are typical), with jog recoveries of similar duration (not necessarily, equal distance); relative to the runs they follow. If a workout calls for “hard” runs, then go by feel and imagine 5k race pace, as the intensity of each run.

Rep/Speed Workout Pace

Intensity: Reps are fast, but not necessarily “hard,” because work bouts are relatively short and are followed by relatively long recovery bouts. Recoveries are to be long enough that each run feels no more difficult than the previous run, because the purpose of Reps is to improve speed and economy and you can not get faster (nor more economical) if you are not running relaxed. If it takes 3 minutes recovery between Rep 400s, then that is what is needed. Reducing rest time between individual work bouts does not make for a better workout, in fact it probably makes for a worse workout because the short rests could increase the stress and lead to poor economy. Think of Reps as similar to current 1500 or mile race pace.

Training Weeks:

Week Beginning:

4th Jan – Week A

11th Jan – Week B

18th Jan – Week A

25th Jan – Week B

1st Feb – Week A

8th Feb – Week B

15th Feb – Week A

22nd Feb – Week B

29th Feb – Week A

7th Mar – Week B

14th Mar – Week A

21st Mar – Week B

28th Mar – Week A