Preparatory Run Training

The Preparatory Plans: Your secret to building fitness between race plans


During times between race plans, you may wonder what training you should be doing. Not to worry. I have the answer.

The time between race plans, especially important right now with all of the race cancelations, is a great time to do some prep work. It’s a time to build aspects of your fitness that will help you perform better in your next race plan.

Here are my five preparatory plans that I use with athletes between race plans (and some additional resources to help you plan out your full training cycle, including these preparatory plans).

Rebuild Fitness Plans

Use the Rebuild Fitness plan if you are coming off a long break and returning to running. My Rebuild Fitness plans are the safest way to resume training after a long layoff. Most runners come back too quickly and get injured, but the Rebuild Fitness plan avoids this by controlling your initial runs and then gradually yet progressively building you back to your previous training level.

View Rebuild Fitness Plans

Base Plan

Use the Base plan if you are coming off a recent race plan and/or want to take the time build the big aerobic base you’ve always wanted. I start you with easy running and then add in form work/leg turnover workouts as well as aerobic efficiency workouts, so you develop the ability to better provide oxygen to the working muscles. You will be amazed at how much better you perform in your next race plan when you have a bigger aerobic base. Note: You also use this time to work on your core stability and running form, so those workout routines are included in your plan.

View Base Plans

Hill Plan

Use the Hill plan if you want to improve your hill running. But that’s not all, the Hill plan gives you the foundational fitness to perform better in your goal pace and fast workouts like speed, leg turnover and sprint workouts. As with the Base plan, you’ll be amazed at how much better your race-specific workouts go after you complete the Hill plan. And yes, just like all of my plans, your prehab (core, stability, strength routines) are included in your Hill plan.

View Hill Plans

Stamina Plan

Between race plans, particularly for runners focused on the 10K and shorter races, the Stamina plan is a great plan to follow. Using what I learned in my graduate research, the Stamina plan is my full-spectrum lactate threshold system. Improving your lactate threshold has a direct effect on your race performance and the Stamina plan is a great plan to boosting your lactate threshold (and the plan included your prehab as well).

View Stamina Plans

Speed Plan

If you feel like you’ve lost your speed, the Speed plan is for you. If you are planning for a longer race like a half-marathon or marathon, the Speed plan is a great precursor to those race plans. Get fast first then carry that new speed into your longer race plan. This works really, really well. I use the Speed plan in most of my plan sequences. You can learn more here.

View Speed Plans

Final Thoughts

The better your prep, the better your race plan will go. I’ve seen it over and over again. If you have time between race plans, use these preparatory plans to set yourself up for a big jump in performance.


Building Your Next Training Cycle – Long Distance Race Goals

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Written By Greg McMillan
Called “one of the best and smartest distance running coaches in America” by Runner’s World’s Amby Burfoot, Greg McMillan is renowned for his ability to combine the science of endurance performance with the art of real-world coaching. While getting his graduate degree in Exercise Science he created the ever-popular McMillan Running Calculator – called “The Best Running Calculator” by Outside Magazine. A National Champion runner himself, Greg coaches runners from beginners to Boston Qualifiers (15,000+ and counting!) to Olympians.

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“I got my first Boston Qualifier today with a 21 personal record!”

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