When creating running habits to achieve goals or just for individual motivation, regardless of the competitive level, it is common to have a running training plan .

In addition to sports clubs or associations, which, as a rule, have at least one coach in charge of planning the athletes’ training, there are also projects that provide sports advice in the field of running. In these, technical support is provided on an individual basis, regardless of the competitive level or the objectives that the runner sets out to achieve.

Any of these situations is a great option for managing running training. In addition to saving time in planning that may not be effective, it is motivating to have someone specialized in the area who will think of the best strategy to enhance the physical fitness of the runner and, at the same time, minimize the risk of injuries.


When the runner chooses to create his own training plan, he should take into account some aspects, namely:

principle of individualization

The training process is an individualized adaptation process, obtaining different results from person to person and from activity to activity. Therefore, the running training plan must be made according to the current physical state of the individual, his availability to train and in view of the objective he intends to achieve.

Principles of continuity and reversibility

In order to process adaptations that lead to an improvement in physical capacity, it is necessary that the stimuli provided to the organism, through training, happen regularly and repeatedly.

The mandatory continuity of the training process is due to a process called “super-compensation”, which consists of increasing a certain capacity (in relation to the level prior to the stimulus), after a period of recovery.

Changes induced by training are transitory or transient. Interrupting the training process reverses the effects obtained over time. If there is no continuity and we let the super-compensation phenomenon regress, we lose the benefits of the previous training.

Principle of progression or overload

In order for there to be changes in the organism, in order to improve performance, there must be unusual levels of activity, that is, the stimuli must be greater than the individual’s capacity at a given moment, thus constituting an overload – load above the normal.

The body, when subjected to exercise, reacts in three phases:

  • Exhaustion : the application of load reduces the functional capacity to levels lower than the initial ones, which leads to the practitioner feeling tired at the end of the training session
  • Recovery : after the training session, the recovery of the body begins, for which the contributions of rest and food are crucial
  • Super-compensation : the body is not limited to replenishing the energy expended in training, but reaches a level of functional capacity higher than the initial one, as if preventing itself against “aggressions” of the same type

The “super-compensatory” phase should normally be used to apply a new stimulus, which can and should be more intense. Super compensation thus allows the “training load” to progressively increase and, with it, physical capacity. If the training load remains unchanged, we reach a point where the effort we make is no longer enough to provoke new adaptations (because our organism has already adapted to it) and we stop evolving.


Keeping these principles in mind, runners should idealize their running training plan, starting by defining the period between the beginning of the training process and the date (concrete or foreseen) to reach their goal. We call this period the “macrocycle”.

It is convenient to always record the training plan (on paper or digital format).

With this table it is possible to have an overview of the entire planning. It is possible to mark the dates of competitions, assessments, medical examinations or any other type of task that is considered important in the journey towards achieving the objective (for example, a competition).

A macrocycle is divided into mesocycles (set of 4 weeks, corresponding to approximately one month) and each mesocycle is divided into microcycles (period corresponding to one week).

Example of a microcycle

Run 30 minutes + Stretching exercisesStrength and Mobility TrainingRestRun 30 minutes + Stretching exercisesStrength and Mobility TrainingRestRunning Technique Training

The ideal is to always start with the easiest and increase the difficulty progressively and slowly. In the first weeks, you should choose to do more general work and, as the expected date to reach the goal approaches, do work that is more suited to the specificity of the challenge. The number of weekly training sessions, their duration and intensity can be varied.


  • 1st – 4th Week – 2 running sessions per week, lasting 20 minutes at a slow pace
    5th – 8th Week – 3 running sessions per week, lasting 30 minutes at a slow pace
    9th – 12th Week – 2 running sessions jogging per week, lasting 30 minutes at a slow pace; 1 running session per week, lasting 30 minutes at a faster pace

It is recommended to monitor and record the training performed using a watch (with GPS) or a smartphone application, as the data collected allows you to evaluate the result of the work and, if necessary, change the plan to make it more effective.

In short, a training plan should be individualized and built according to the athlete’s physical condition, with the availability to train and with the means available for the training process.

You should start from an easy level and, slowly and progressively, increase the difficulty. Running training should always be complemented with strength, mobility, stretching and running techniques.