Intermediate Plan for Runners

  • For marathon and half-marathon training plans that put low stress on your body, click here. For a beginner plan, that will get you ready for this plan, click here.
Suppose you're running three miles (1.6 km) three times a week, and you're anxious to increase your distance. What do you do to increase your distance and maybe the number of days per week that you run? Perhaps you want to run a half-marathon or a marathon. Maybe you've chosen a marathon plan and are excited to get started. But....you have a problem. The plan says you should be running approximately 24 miles (39 km) a week, including a 6 mile (10 km) run, and you're only running 3 miles (4.8 km) three times a week. Should you start the plan anyway? If the plan says you should be running approximately 24 miles (39 km) a week and you're running less than that, you can expect trouble if you start the plan now. So, you really have only one feasible option: continue to run until you've met the conditions specified by the plan. If you organize your running, it probably won't take long to get yourself ready to start training for your half-marathon or marathon.

The basic idea that you should follow to increase your distance and/or the number of days per week that you run is to make small increases in your weekly mileage until you reach your goal. Just be careful that you don't rush into it and injure yourself. The running literature suggests that your weekly increases in distance be 10% or less of your weekly distance. In addition, follow the heavy/light rule by alternating heavy runs with light runs, where "heavy" and "light" refer to the stress applied to your body not to your effort in completing the runs. Doctors tell us that we need at least 48 hours for recovery after a heavy run, and the light run the day after, if it is a slow, easy run, satisfies that condition. Of course, you can take a rest day with no running for your light day if you wish, or you can do light cross-training such as walking, cycling, or swimming.

Here is a suggested schedule that will help you increase your distance. This schedule observes both the 10% rule and the heavy/light rule, and it includes a monthly light week and a monthly recovery week (distance ran before the light week). Because of the relatively small increases in distance, this plan takes longer than some of you might want to spend. Feel free to adjust the schedule to fit your interests and body condition. As you follow the schedule, focus on completing the distance and don't worry about speed. Just run at an easy, slow pace. In fact, this caution about focusing on distance not speed should be your guide later on as you follow your plan for your marathon or half marathon. Adjust the days of the week to fit your schedule. The chart gives distance in miles (kilometers). The kilometers are rounded to be whole numbers.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Sat
3 (5) 0 (0) 3 (5) 0 3 (5) This is your starting base
3 (5) 1 (2) 3 (5) 0 3 (5) 11% increase for the week
3 (5) 1 (2) 3 (5) 1 (2) 3 (5) 10% increase for the week
3 (5) 0 (0) 3 (5) 0 3 (5) This is a light week
3 (5) 1 (2) 3 (5) 1 (2) 3 (5) This is a recovery week
4 (6) 1 (2) 3 (5) 1 (2) 3 (5) 9% increase for the week
4 (6) 1 (2) 4 (6) 1 (2) 3 (5) 8% increase for the week
4 (6) 1 (2) 4 (6) 1 (2) 4 (6) 8% increase for the week
4 (6) 0 (0) 3 (5) 0 (0) 3 (5) This is a light week
4 (6) 1 (2) 4 (6) 1 (2) 4 (6) This is a recovery week
4 (6) 2 (3) 4 (6) 1 (2) 4 (6) 7% increase for the week
4 (6) 2 (3) 4 (6) 2 (3) 4 (6) 7% increase for the week
5 (8) 2 (3) 5 (8) 2 (3) 4 (6) 12% increase for the week
4 (6) 0 (0) 4 (6) 0 (0) 4 (6) This is a light week
5 (8) 2 (3) 5 (8) 2 (3) 4 (6) This is a recovery week
5 (8) 3 (5) 5 (8) 2 (3) 5 (8) 11% increase for the week
6 (10) 3 (5) 5 (8) 3 (5) 5 (8) 10% increase for the week
6 (10) 3 (5) 6 (10) 3 (5) 6 (10) 11% increase for the week
This plan ends with a weekly distance of 24 miles (39 km). Continue running close to this weekly distance for several weeks to get really used to it, but vary your daily and weekly distances so your body doesn't get used to doing the same thing every week. Take a light (rest) week followed by a recovery week every month to six weeks. The recovery week is to take you back to the distance you were running before the light week. For example, suppose you finish a week with 22 miles. Then, you do a light week of 16 miles. Then, you do a recovery week of 22 miles. Then, you vary your daily and weekly distances until it's time for another light week.

One thing that will really help is to take walking breaks of 1 - 3 minutes each mile or every 2 km. If a particular week seems difficult for you, repeat that week until you feel comfortable with it. Since you'll probably be running outside for as much of this as possible, use your car to measure markers from 1 mile (2 km) to 6 miles (10 km). At each marker, locate an object, such as a tree or a telephone pole, that you can recognize as you pass it during your runs. High accuracy isn't needed, and you can vary the distances slightly to have your markers end at intersections or other noticeable landmarks if you're close to them. If you have a treadmill, use it during bad weather, when getting home late, etc.


  • For marathon and half-marathon training plans that put low stress on your body, click here. For a beginner plan, that will get you ready for this plan, click here.

58 comments:

King Arthur said...

I am interested in doing a half or full marathon next spring. I've been running 3 miles 3 times a week for about 6 years. Your plan seems tailored to my needs. Thanks for posting.

Rich

King Arthur said...

Allen, recently I ran a 10 mile run and 7.7 mile leg of a marathon relay. My training was a series of M-W-F runs, usually a 7 or 8 mile run once a week with 2-6 mile runs for the other two days. Just before either race I tapered 7-6-3 then run the race. Afterward, take a few days off then back to the routine.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I do upper body weights and cycling, about 55 minutes total.

I want to run a half or full marathon. I guess I have to give up the upper body exercise to accomplish this?

Thanks
Rich

Allen said...

I want to run a half or full marathon. I guess I have to give up the upper body exercise to accomplish this?

Doing upper body workouts is good cross training, so you could use that on two "light" days. However, you still need to get in a lot of miles to develop endurance. So, it is a matter of your available time and your schedule. There are some runners who complete a marathon without doing a lot of miles, but most people need at least a year of 40 miles per week (or more) to strengthen their body. Until you complete a marathon, you won't comprehend the stress that 26.2 miles puts on your body. The last half is much harder than the first half. Read my page on The Stress of a Marathon to get a rough idea of what I'm talking about.

Doing a half marathon this Spring and a full marathon a year from that is something you might consider.

King Arthur said...

We were at the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati last weekend. We saw several runners being assisted across the finish line.

Your advice is sound. I think I'll keep increasing the running and shoot for a half marathon in the fall or next spring. If that goes well I'll keep going for the full one. Just wanting to do at least one in my life. Thanks for the help.

Rich

Coach KBeans said...

I found your blog by doing a google search. I have used many plans to finish multiple 5ks and a few triathlons, but when it came to seriously considering a half marathon, I wanted something light and gradual. I have 3 kids at home, we homeschool, and we do a lot of cross training with our Beachbody business. So having something that can help take the running I'm already doing, and GRADUALLY move it up to where I can comfortably finish a half marathon successfully, well it helps a whole lot!!

Thanks Allen for all this info. I'm adding you to my 'follow' list of blogs :o)

God Bless.

King Arthur said...

I have signed up for a half marathon at the Indianapolis half/full 14th annual marathon. I've been training since June and have been doing 24 miles a week, M-F. (6-3-6-3-6). In August I started increasing on Wed and Fri. My last long run was 11.2 miles. So far, no injuries but getting some discomfort in my left knee at about 6 miles but it goes away by 7.
Looking forward to Indy next month; excited and nervous.

Rich

Allen said...

Hi Rich,

Glad to hear that you're getting ready for a half-marathon. Do a taper during the last two weeks (cut your distance by half during the taper). Be careful with your knee. Be sure you do stretches to strengthen your knees and hips and lower back. You might cut your long run back to 10 miles this week followed by one of 11 miles next week. I'm not looking at a calendar, so I might be off by a week. Do 12 miles week after next followed by a two-week taper.

During the race, take it easy, especially during the first half. Run to complete the race with no worry about time. Run the race as a 13 mile training run.

Are you doing any walking during your runs? Walking breaks are a good idea, especially if you do them from mile 1 to the finish. Walk about a minute per mile.

Rich said...

>Do a taper during the last two weeks (cut your distance by half during the taper).

I had planned on running at least 10 miles on the Friday before then 6 on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 6 on Wednesday and the race on Saturday.
That's close to the way I've been training (M,T,W,Th,F miles are 6,3,7,3,11 and rest on Sat-Sun)

>Be careful with your knee.
Really acting up this week, very stiff (but not sore) muscles all around the knee. I can run, but I have an Ace bandage for support. Not much discomfort while I run, only afterward. I ran just 6 yesterday (indoors on a track) but I felt it all the way. I took today off and thinking about just staying off it until Monday.

>Be sure you do stretches to strengthen your knees and hips and lower back.
Yes, I have a warm up and cool down routine for calves, thighs hips and back. Never needed it for the knees, though. I'll add something.

>During the race, take it easy ...
Oh yes, this will be a training run, no speed. When I finish this one then I have a 5K and I'll drop way back through winter and see what happens in the spring.

>Are you doing any walking during your runs?
No, I have been running all the way. When my knee started hurting I had to drop to a walk when going up some of the hills but mostly just running.

>Walk about a minute per mile.
Once I get up running I hate dropping back to a walk. But I'll give it a try. I really want to make this run, no matter what.

BTW, I'm 62, started running about 58. Most of that time I did 3 miles 3 times a week. Last year I was talked into a relay, did 5.2 miles. Didn't do anything else but have been very active this year. I enjoy the running but this is the first real pain I've had, probably because of the increased distances.

Allen said...

With your knee acting up, if it were me I would do something like 4,1,3,1,rest,half,rest for my taper. the stretches I do for my knees are in my picture page. You're so close to the half, that stretches won't help for that race. The best you can do is decrease your running the week of the half (taper) and take walking breaks of 1 minute every mile during the race. Don't be ashamed about walking during the race. Lots of people do it, including some fast runners. You're not a youngster anymore, and you (and I)need to give our bodies more rest than we used to.

The fact that your knees hurt means your body can't handle the stress its been under. You need to reduce that stress pronto or you'll likely get injured and be out of running for quite a while.

Rich said...

Good advice, Allen. Last week I took Monday off, ran Tues (3) Wed (6)-knee hurt even more so I took Thurs - Sunday off. I bought a new pair of shoes and more socks on Sunday. I've run 6-3-7 so far this week and feel much better. Slight pain on the right side of the knee and some discomfort, but not pain, at the edges of the knee cap. I'm wearing my Ace bandage regularly. After the run, almost no pain and within an hour I'm normal again (yeah!).

Not young? Of course we're young, at heart, and that's where it counts.

I'd like to run the entire race but I've learned that things hurt for a reason and it's good to listen to your body. I can run 6 without any issues, then I'll take a checkpoint. Indy is pretty flat so no hills to worry about. I've got my reservations set so I'm heading up there. It's all fun, not work. When it stops being fun, I stop.

Rich

King Arthur said...

Finished my first half marathon 10/17/09 at Indianapolis. Weather was cold (34 at race time) and thin clouds to cloudy. The scenery was excellent and I had a very good run.

I ran all 13.1 miles with a 10 minute per mile pace, finishing in 2:11. No pains and only a little stiffness today. All in all I'd call it very successful.

So maybe next year I'll do a full. My friends think I'm nuts, my running friend says no way, she's stopping at a half marathon but she's willing to do that much again next fall. I'm taking a break until January, then I've got the Louisville Triple Crown (5K, 10K and 10 mile). After that, I'll see how it goes.

Rich

Allen said...

Hey Rich, congratulations on your race. A 2:11 time is a great time! The fact that you feel no pain afterward is a good sign that your body is getting stronger. Keep it up, and let us know about your recovery and your training. Your experiences will be helpful to others.

King Arthur said...

Ran the race Saturday 10/17/09 and Monday I ran 4 on the track and again today I ran 6. The right knee is fine, as always. The left knee hurts from time to time but not like it used to. At the end of today's run I felt like I was just getting warmed up and the knee was getting better.

I've learned to run on both sides of this access road I use for my track, running on the crown where possible. This seems to help keep the aches down.

I have a 5K in a week. I'm thinking about doing a full marathon at Indy next year but if not, the half marathon again.

Rich

Anonymous said...

Hi Allen,
I love your site and have found much inspiration here as I pursued and completed the C25K (couch potato to 5K) plan a couple of months back. I was not exactly a couch potato, but I had never run in my life. I tried taking it up on my own in the fall of 2008, but doing it ad hoc was painful and discouraging, so when I found the C25K plan I decided to do it, and I started in January 2010. I am living in South India and running on roads in quite hot weather with dogs, cars, and much human traffic around, but I have definitely fallen in love.

I've been running for time (not distance) and would like to start your intermediate plan after I run a few more weeks of 30 minutes 3 times a week. I just made myself a chart attempting to convert your distance recommendations to time, but I am confused about how and whether to apply the 10% rule, if I'm running for time.

For example: I start week one of your plan running 30,0,30,0,30. The second week I would increase the number of days (I based it on percentages, assuming the 30 minutes is around a 5K, though I know I am not quite going that far). Week 2 would look like this: 30,12,30,0,30. Week 6: 36,12,30,12,30. I hope that makes sense. It sounds all reasonable to me, but it's more than a 10% increase, if you're looking at it for time. And towards the end, I would potentially go from running 36 minutes on my long runs to 48 within a week's time and then from 48 to 60, which feels like a big jump. But maybe it will be manageable after all those weeks.

I wonder if you have any advice about following this plan for time, aside from the obvious, which is to take my time and listen to my body? I will definitely let you know how it goes. The other issue is that next month, just after I start the plan, I will be living part of the week in a rural area which has hills. I hope I will be able to find a route that I can manage and keep my more challenging, longer runs to the roads where I have grown accustomed to running.

I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions!

Allen said...

Hi Anon,

Congratulations on running for time rather than distance. When you get into hills, you should slow down a bit, and since you're running for time, that translates into running a shorter distance that has hills.

The philosophy of the Intermediate plan is to increase your weekly mileage by approximately 10%. The plan has you starting at 4 days per week and then going to 5 days per week. The plan also incorporates heavy/light.

To run time instead of distance, you can do basically the same thing. Forget the numbers in the plan and just follow the basic philosophy.

Assuming you're running 3 days per week, run heavy light by having at least one easy day (less time, slower, or light crosstraining or a day of rest) between heavy days. Run for approximately the same amount of time each week until you feel comfortable with that amount of time. Then increase your time by approximately 10%. You can do this by increasing the amount of time for each run or increasing the weekly time by approximately 10% and then rationing that increase to the individual runs. Don't worry about getting exact measurements of your time. Approximate numbers are fine.

Now, do you want to know the easy way to do it?

Here it is. Run for distance but be liberal in reducing the length of your runs if you feel yourself getting tired. Don't feel like you have to do a certain distance. If you feel good, run the full distance. If you feel tired, slow down, walk, stop for a rest, or abort and go home. The secret of success is to let your body be in charge, not your brain. Your body says it's tired. Your brain says to keep on going, don't be a wimp, finish that distance. Your brain has its ego pushing you, while your body is giving you signals it is tired. When it comes time to make an increase for the next week, pick a tree, a house, a big rock, a telephone pole, or what ever that is approximately 10% away and use that for your next goal. 10% is not a magic number, so just pick an identifiable object. If you pick one that is too far away, your body will let you know.

Look in the right side bar and find the link for a page on basics of jogging by Doc George Sheehan. Study that article. It was written before the days of electronic gadgets like GPRs. Study the table of Borg scale. When you run hills, for example, you exert more effort to overcome gravity in addition to overcoming distance. You compensate for this by slowing down such that you feel about the same as you would if you were running on level ground. Runners who get tired while going up a hill or going too fast.

Please check back once in a while and let me know how it is going for you. Feel free to post a comment any time you have a question. I like comments better than direct emails, because other runners get the benefit of your experience.

By the way, I've started using Jeff Galloway's suggestion to run for 30 seconds and then walk for 30 seconds. Even though I've been running for 37 years, I'm recovering from blood clots, and the short spurts of running and walking have done wonders for me. I count the number of times my left foot hits the ground: 46 times running and 33 times walking is about 30 seconds each.

Anonymous said...

Hi Allen.

Thanks alot for your advice. I just came across Dr. Sheehan's article, and actually posted it to my facebook page just a couple of days before deciding to post my comment. This (and one of your other links on running for time) is what made me start thinking about continuing to run for time, even as I start the intermediate plan. The other problem is that I'm running on roads, and the only way I can measure out kilometers is to have my husband take me on his motorcycle (I don't know how to drive it) through my running route. He has done it a couple of times, but as I increase distance, I don't want to have to keep asking him every time --even though it is kind of fun to share it with him AND to find out how far I'm actually going! Your idea of using approximate distances based on visual landmarks is a good solution to this problem.

For now, I think I will stick with the mock-up I have made of your plan, using approximate minutes, and continuing to run for TIME, also increasing the number of days per week to 4 or 5. I won't start until I've run the 30 minutes a couple more weeks, but I'll definitely follow up with a post once I see how it's going.

Your site and your advice are really great. I especially like hearing how you are dealing with healing from the blood clots, and learning to practice what you preach. It is sometimes so challenging to really be honest with pain, since the love of running is so strong. I personally try to apply what I have learned in 13 years of Yoga practice to my new found running love.... My motto is "no pain, no pain."

It's good to have your support and inspiration!

Thanks so much!! --Laurah

Allen said...

You might enjoy my running blog at http://oldmanrunning.org and documents my individual runs. This week has been really mixed up. I spent all day Monday and half a day Tuesday working with my wife to move 12 yards of compost. I was going to run today, but I found out that I'll be walking 5K tomorrow with my grand daughter, so I didn't run today.

Rich said...

Allen, do you have a Facebook account or group? I'd like to join if you do but I get the RSS feed from your blog too.

Ran my second half marathon in Cincinnati (Flying Pig) on 5/2/10. More hills than Indianapolis so my time was a little slower. No pain at all now.

Rich

Allen said...

Congratulations, Rich, on your second half! You've been careful and consistent in your training, and it is paying off.

I created a Facebook account to see what FB was all about, and then I disabled it. I do use Twitter, though, to pass on tips from me and from Jeff Galloway. Currently, he is the only one on Twitter that I'm following; he has good tips about running.

Now that you've completed your second half, what's next on your schedule?

King Arthur said...

This spring I did the Louisville (KY) Triple Crown- 5K, 10K, 10 mile. Those were in March and April. Then the Flying Pig on May 2, (I did a half). This summer will be a 10K and 5K in July and August.

For fall I'm going back to Indianapolis for another half marathon but maybe a full. I'm really tempted for the full but it's a huge time commitment. I'll decide before the end of July. After that I'll do some 5K runs with my running friends. That will take me to the holidays.

King Arthur said...

Oh, sorry, I don't tweet. I have a plain Jane cell phone, nothing special. I do Facebook and I'm lucky to do that :-) I can't keep up with anything else.

Rich

Anonymous said...

Hi Allen. I commented earlier about doing the intermediate plan, running for time, not distance. Running is going great, and I am enjoying updating my training calendar (just a schedule I tape to the wall). Unfortunately for my running-ego, I am stalled at week 7, because I had to cut way back due to getting sick with an ear infection. I did a week with one 40 minute and one 12 minute run, then couldn't run again until the following week, when I did one 30 and one 40 minute run, separated by 2 days of total rest. Last week I again was aiming for a 40,12,40,12, 30 week (according to the plan), but after my second day of running I was exhausted, and I had to admit my body was still tired from fighting off the infection (and the 4 rounds of antibiotics I needed). I'm feeling good today after my second run for the week, and we'll see how it goes. Rereading your comments today was helpful, because I've definitely been observing a battle between brain and body as I had to let go of several planned runs. Here's hoping for a good bounce back at Week 7 this week!

Allen said...

Hi Anon,

I'm glad to hear that your training is going well and that you're recovering from your illness. It is hard to change a schedule due to illness or other things.

The thing that helps me is to focus on listening to my body, and that governs how fast (or slow) I recover from being away from running. For two or three weeks, I forget about my schedule and focus on what my body is telling me. After my body tells me it is doing OK now, I make out a new schedule from that point on. The old schedule is gone forever.

I'm very left brained about my training and schedules, and that allows me to focus on the immediate and not see or think about the big picture. I think right brained people would have more difficulty with interruptions to ones schedule.

Allen said...

Rich, it's the end of July, and I'm wondering what you've decided about a full marathon? The second half of a marathon is harder than the first half, so if you decide to do a full, give yourself at least 15 weeks to train for it. 25 weeks is better. These are weeks from where you are now.

Hopefully, your goal is to do a full and feel good at the end. First, you have to get used to the distance, and that would likely take you 2-3 months, including at least one 20+ long run. Then, you have to get used to the stress, and that takes a number of 20+ runs. You should only do one 20+ run per month, so you're talking about another 12 weeks or more. In fact the longer you can wait before you do a full, the more you'll be getting used to the stress. This is assuming that you do one 20+ run per month or six weeks or so.

Most people don't think about the stress of the marathon; they're just focusing on overcoming the distance. When they run the marathon, they aren't used to the stress, and they have injury or soreness, etc. from the race.

In my case, I didn't run a marathon until I had been running 8 years, and I was used to the stress of distance running. I felt fine after each marathon and was back on the roads two days later. The problem that I had was that I only ran one 20 miler before each marathon. I did do a long run of 15 miles each week, year around, and that really made the difference in my condition. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done several 20+ long runs before each marathon, and I would have pushed my weekly 15 miler to be a 17 miler. However, I did the best I could with the knowledge I had and the time I had available.

Anonymous said...

Hi Allen.
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm definitely right brained about training. I think this is why I like your site and your running advice so much. Your style makes intuitive sense to me, and it helps me to relax my tendencies to obsess about the schedule and goals (both long- and short-term). Just got back from my third run of the week. I took walking breaks after 6,8,6, and 8 minutes because my legs were tired. Had a great time in the cool of a rare dry evening during the Kerala monsoon. cheers!

King Arthur said...

Hi, Allen
Well, no,I'm not training for a marathon. In June I managed to fall off the steps in my garage, landed on the edge of my left foot and snapped the 5th metatarsil; spiral fracture, 2 breaks, very nasty.

I had a cast for 4 weeks and I'm still in the post-op sandal. Cast came off about 1.5 weeks ago and I tried going on the elliptical and bicycle. I started with just 10 minutes first, then 15, then jumped to 30. I did 3-30 minutes turn on the elliptical (day rest in between). I think I rushed it because my foot's been hurting for the past two days. I did the bicycle (stationary) this morning and it's still hurting.

The entire time since my injury I've continued with upper body exercise. I had a bout of depression at the beginning. When I fell, I heard it 'snap' and knew something broke. My first thought was 'rats! there goes my marathon'.

I'm not allowed any running right now. They said bicycle and elliptical and continue the upper body. I go back mid August for a checkup and X-ray. So far they said the healing is fine, just give it time. Seems like it's taking forever.

I'm hoping to get back on the horse and maybe get at least 1 5K in by the end of the year. I just need go-ahead from the doctor.

Rich

Allen said...

I'm sorry, Rich, to hear of your injury. Well, you have a life-time of marathons ahead of you. Take the time now to have a proper recovery and avoid more serious problems in the future.

I had blood clots a year and a half ago, and that really put a damper on my running. I had to start over on distance with just walking. After a year and a half, I'm up to 3 miles, half running and half walking. All we can do is accept life and make the best of it....

The blood clots are a side effect of an auto accident 6 years ago when I came very close to dieing. I'd much rather being alive running 3 miles than being dead running 0 miles :)

King Arthur said...

Yes, 3 miles and alive is definitely better. Sorry to hear that you had the accident and the blood clots but happy that you're still plugging away and up to 3 miles. You're an inspiration; keep slogging away.

Rich

Anonymous said...

Hi Allen.
Just a quick update. I'm still running the intermediate plan for time instead of distance. After several weeks of modifying my schedule in response to illness and travel, I comfortably ran week ten in my plan (40 minutes, 12 minutes, 40, 12, 40) two weeks ago. I took a light week last week and ran the same (week 10) again this week. I'll probably increase my short runs one by one beginning next week, if I'm still feeling fine. Congrats on keeping up your running. I enjoy following your blog.

Allen said...

Anon, You've conquered week 10, congrats to you, too! We're both doing well, and life is good to us (not problem free, but we become stronger when we overcome problems).

Anonymous said...

Dear Allen,
I last wrote you in late September, when I had just completed Week 10 of your Intermediate Plan. A few days later I learned I was pregnant with my first child. As a new runner, I hoped to keep it up throughout the pregnancy, but after just a few weeks I found that in the hot climate here in South India, I couldn't manage to keep up with my slow jogging pace, given the new demands on my body. I keep up with my Yoga practice and for the first several months incorporated walking regularly, but now it's so hot here it is hard to find a good time of day to be out and about. I'll have to update you after the baby is born in June (back in the US), as I hope to get back to jogging and eventually pick back up on the intermediate plan.
All the best!

Allen said...

Hi Anon, nice to hear from you again. Congratulations on your new (expected) baby. You're doing the right thing by listening to your body and doing the right thing for your expected baby.

You have a lifetime ahead of you for running, and when you do get back to it, start from the beginning, as if you are a new runner, and let your body guide you in how quickly you progress. You'll probably find that you improve at a faster rate than you did before.

King Arthur said...

Hi Allen, hope you're doing well. My foot is healed but I can still feel twinges from time to time. I started back running Jan 3 this year and I'm back up to 8.7 miles. I've dropped some weight that I collected while I was recovering and I'm back to where I started last June.

I did a 5K in March and I have a 10K (July 4) and another 5K (Aug) coming up. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do the half marathon in Indianapolis this October. Everything seems to be fine, no pains while I'm running. I'd still like to do a full marathon. I may try the Flying Pig next March.

How are you doing?

Rich

jenndpan said...

Hi there, I just found your website and have really enjoyed all of the information. I am a 31 year old female who has never really done any sports or any consistent exercise program, at least not one that lasted past a 2-3 months. I started jogging with a friend about 5 weeks ago. I know that I probably started out doing too much too soon. We started by doing 5 minute jog/walk intervals for 2.5 miles. After some major huffing and puffing and muscle soreness that would last 2-3 days, I'm now at the point where I'm jogging 27-30 minutes straight (2.5 to 2.7 miles). After my last job, I realized that I felt totally comfortable and no huffing and puffing. My problem is now that my knees, both of them feel totally fine while running, but ache afterwards. At first, they just felt stiff on the underside, but not painful. Now they are achy on the bottom and outer sides. I've also developed an upper respiratory infection that has wiped me out. I'm sure this all due to overtraining, but my question now is what should I do about it? I'm a very stubborn person and incredibly excited about finding a hobby/exercise that I truly love, but I'm terrified about hurting myself and not being able to do it. I'm so afraid of getting discouraged and impatient while cutting back, but also don't want to be dumb about letting my body heal. Ideas?

King Arthur said...

jenndpan, if I may offer my experiences. I'm a 64 year old male, been running for about 12 years. I started out overweight, high BP, cholesterol, all bad things :-(

I started out walking, then walk-run and finally running. I think it took me several months, doing this M-F, to get up to a couple of miles. I had various pains in my legs and lower back. A friend told me to get an Ace bandage for my left knee and it really helped. They are usually available in drug stores, there are different sizes and models. I do crunches on an excercise ball for my back among other back exercises.

I switched to M-W-F running and stayed at 3 miles for a long time, about 7 years. Weight came down and with the help of some mild medications, so did the BP and cholesterol. My doctor has been very pleased.

About 3 or 4 years ago I was joined by friends and we started doing some 5Ks and then some relays, 10K and 10 milers. I kept increasing my distances and for the past couple of years I've done a half marathon each year. I'm really proud of that at 64 :-)

My experience has been that if it hurts when you're running, don't go too far before taking a break. If it hurts after you run, don't run every day, run every other day. Finally, a very experienced runner told me that if you run on streets, they are slanted to allow run-off. If you run always facing traffic, one foot hits the pavement before the other. This can cause some people a lot of knee discomfort. I changed my route so I can switch sides, even double back on the same route going the opposite direction. Huge difference! No knee pain at all and I'm up to 10 mile runs again. (I broke my foot last year, not related to running, and I had to take 6 months off.)

Take your time, make sure you stretch (don't overstretch) before and after. Don't worry about speed. As your body conditions you will naturally speed up.

I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I could run a mile let alone 13.1. I still run 3 times a week, early mornings, and I feel great. Good luck, stick with it, don't give up. The rewards are phenomenal :-)

-Rich

jenndpan said...

Hey Rich,

Thanks so much for the comments. Turns out that I am having shoe issues. I went back into the shoe store I bought my shoes at and they were frustrated because the person who fit originally me put me in a neutral shoe, when I really need one to help with overpronating. So, they sold me some inserts, which eliminated the knee pain, but overdid it and caused pain on the outside of my feet. So, I went in yesterday and the man said that the inserts were too aggressive and they traded out my shoes for a new pair of Brooks that should help with the overpronating. I'm excited to give them a shot tomorrow. I've been wearing them around to get used to them and hope that finally having the right shoes will help my knees/feet feel better.

King Arthur said...

Brooks is a good brand, I've been very satisfied with mine. I bought a pair, wore them a couple of times, then ran the Indianapolis Half Marathon in them without any problems. (BTW, that is a beautiful course, through Ft Benjamin Harrison. At the end they have a BBQ waiting for you.)

Anonymous said...

Hi again, Allen,
I had my baby in June, a healthy, beautiful baby girl. I started regular walking a month later, and last week (8 weeks postpardum) I started the C25K program, which I also used last time I took up running. So far so good! If all goes well, I plan to finish the c25K, run that distance for a full month, and then start your intermediate plan again in November. I'll post again after some time with an update!
Best wishes...

Anonymous said...

Hi Allen,

Can you give some tips for my first 21KM run this coming nov.13,2011..i just did 5 run with 10KM this year..is that enough? can u also give me some tips for what food to be eat before running.

Thanks,
Aera

Allen said...

Hi Aera,

Every runner probably has his or her own opinions on running matters. Here are mine. As a general statement, don't do anything during a race that wasn't done during your training before the race. By doing this, you'll know before the race what works for you and what doesn't.

This means that I suggest that before the race you do training runs at least equal to your race distance, and if possible do training runs longer than your race distance. By doing this, you will know you can complete the distance of the race. People tend to run faster during a race than they did during training runs, and that extra speed will put more stress on their bodies. You need enough strength to be able to run faster and also complete the race. Thus, by running longer than the race in training runs, you'll have a reserve of strength that you can use to run faster.

Concerning food before the race. The traditional recommendation for food is 65% carbs, 20% protein, and 15% fat. However, some scientists now recommend 33% carbs, 33% protein, and 33% fat. I think it is important that your carbs are complex carbs, such as grains and low glycemic foods. During your training, experiment with various foods and times of day to see what works for you. Do you run best in the morning on an empty stomach (running before breakfast). Do you run best eating a light meal an hour or so before you run? Do you run best in the afternoon between meals? In the evening after supper? Once you have answers to these questions and you know the race schedule, you can decide what to do before the race. But, try your ideas out in training runs. You want to race having done things beforehand that have been successfully tried during training runs.

In my case, I run best in the morning before breakfast. I eat a few handfuls of dry Cheeros and a bananna or an energy bar. If I eat too much before I run, it takes me a couple of miles before I feel fine.

As a general statement, don't eat a lot of fat or protein before a run, because those things take longer for your body to digest. Eat carbs that will give you quick energy during the race. Avoid sugar spikes, though, by choosing complex carbs and low glycemic foods.

This is a longer answer than you probably expected, so I hope my comments make sense to you. The most important thing of all is to use training runs to test what works for you and to avoid doing new things during the race.

Vaughn said...

Hi Allen,
I have almost reached the end of your intermediate 10k plan and want to maintain that weekly distance(6-3-6-3-6) for my regular runs. From how your plan is structured it seems that my recovery week will be 3 days of six miles. Can you please inform me of the distance for the light week which follows. Thank you.
Vaughn

Allen said...

Vaughn,

At the end of the intermediate plan are comments in bold. I've modified those comments to explain the recovery week more clearly.

For example, suppose you run four weeks having weekly distances of 24, 22, 23, 21 miles. Then you do a light week of 16 miles. Then you do a recovery week of 21 miles (the distance you ran before the light week). Then you vary your daily and weekly distances for another 4-6 weeks until you do a light week again. In this example, don't do another light week of 16 miles. Vary your light weeks just as you've been varying your other weeks. You might do a light week of 17 miles or of 15 miles.

Of course, if you run a 10K race, your recovery week from that race will be a taper back to your "normal" distances, such as 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 miles for the week following the race. The daily distances you run after a race will be different than the daily distances someone else would run, since your body is different than their body.

If you decide to do longer runs than 6 miles, take a look at the half-marathon plan. If you examine the numbers, you will see that there is a transition from three days of equal distances to two days of a long run and a medium run, the remaining days being rest runs. As you get into longer distances, your body needs more rest.

Allen said...

Vaughn,

I just reread your comment, and I think I didn't answer your question.

Light weeks give your body extra rest. You've been alternating stressful runs with rest runs, and this gives your body rest after the stressful runs. Many runners do a light week every month or so to give their bodies extra rest.

Typically, rest weeks are 50-75% of the distance of "regular" weeks. Each person is different, and you have to listen to your body to find out how much rest it needs.

For example, you might take a rest week of 80% (20% reduction in distance). But, you feel tired after the rest week, and you decide to try 70% for the next rest week.

The Intermediate Plan has rest weeks built into it. You can look at the numbers to get an idea of how much reduction in distance I assumed for the rest week. In real life, some people might need greater reductions than the numbers I put into the plan.

Vaughn said...

Thank you. That was very helpful.
Vaughn

King Arthur said...

Hi Allen, it's been a long time coming but I finally managed to more or less run a marathon; at least I finished the course. I made it up to 20 miles in training but on race day I had a number of issues.

I know more now about where I need to improve and when I get tired, etc. Maybe on the next marathon (if there is one) I'll do better. I just wanted to let you know I crossed the finish line. Oh, in my age group I came in 4 of 8, top half, so not too bad :-)

Rich

Allen said...

Congratulations, Rich! Being 4th out of 8 in your age group is great! Thanks for letting us know.

YY said...

Hi Allen,

I am inspired by all the articles that you had published.
I started running at the age of 39 about one and a half year ago and joined my very first half marathon end of last year. I feel great and continue to run.

Unfortunately, I experienced injury in January that I decided to cut down my running and start all over again.

I decided to take on this training plan of yours as my starting point. However, I only able to spare time running on Saturday, Sunday and probably on Wednesday. In that case, do you think it is better for me to have long run on Saturday (follow by a short run on Sunday) or having the long run on Sunday. On Wednesday, I can only do a 5k run due to time limitation.

Thanks.

YY

Allen said...

Hi YY,

I'm sorry about your injury last month, and I hope you recover well from it.

Concerning your long run, it all depends on you and your schedule at work, including how much sleep you get during the week. The basic idea is to try to have a relatively easy day before and after the long run. Try it both ways and see which works best for you. One thing that isn't mentioned in my plan is to try and keep the long run to 50% or less of the weekly total.

For half marathon training, it is desirable to have your max long run be 13 miles (15 is better), but some runners do it with 10 or 11 miles. Again, it all depends on your body, how it reacts to stress.

YY said...

Thanks a lot for your advice Allen.

My knee is getting OK now after resting for 2~3 weeks. I thought I could get away with the 10% rules but I was wrong.

Thanks again.
YY

Allen said...

There are several factors that affect your knees, and the 10% rule affects only one of them. How many miles do you have on your shoes? There are three types of shoes; do you have the correct type for your body? Are you over striding? (take shorter steps and aim for a stride rate of 170/180 steps per minute) Do you do strengthening exercises for your knees and hips? If you haven't read them all, read the other pages in my site to get ideas. Try taking a walking break every mile, such as 1 or 2 minutes each mile.

YY said...

Hi Allen, I believe my shoes types is right. However, for some reasons, the shoes will wear off around 100 miles only. Only at the very edge of the outer heel side of the left shoe wears off. I have to change it or I will have pain at my left knee. It could be the way that I run.
Yes, I will keep my stride small after reading some articles recently.
Strengthening of the hips and knees are the other area that I will need to work on after reading some articles.
Again, thank for the tips.
YY

Allen said...

YY, the wearing of the outside of the heel is normal, especially if you heel strike. I wouldn't expect that to give you knee pain. Normally, one can get about 500 miles on a pair of shoes. Check to soles of your shoes for wear. The three types of shoes are neutral, correction, and motion control.

Normally, your foot hits the ground on the outside of the heel and then rotates in to the center. If your foot stops rotation when it gets to the center, you need neutral shoes. If your foot rotates a little bit to the inside, you need motion control shoes. If your foot rotates farther to the inside, you need motion control. You can usually tell from the wear on the soles (not the heel) how much your foot is rotating (called pronation) and can thus judge whether you have the right type of shoes or not.


Also, don't land on the toes of your shoes. Most people land on the heel of your shoes. Best is to land on the midfoot or middle of the shoe.

Are your shoes good quality? A name brand? Did you get them from a store specializing in running, or from mall-type store. Clerks in running stores will usually watch you walk and jog to see which type of shoe you need.

Also, be sure you stretch your knees before and after you run -- gentle stretches without pain. Do stretches to lengthen your muscles and also to strengthen your muscles. My site has a page with pictures of the stretches I do. There are lots of other stretches, though, that help.

King Arthur said...

Hi Allen, in addition to your comments I'd like to add, a visit to a good podiatrist is worth the price. The running store told me I needed stability shoes. I ran in a couple pair of those for a year and kept having knee pain. I finally went to a podiatrist and she said I should be in neutral shoes. I switched and haven't had any pain since then.

The shoe clerk may or may not always have the right answer. It's good to get a professional opinion (and take your shoes when you go so the doctor can look at the soles).

Another piece of advice I got was to check your running route. If you run on the road and always face traffic this can cause knee problems too. Roads have a crown (high spot in the middle) to let the water run off. If you always run facing traffic, one foot will hit the road before the other. It's only a small amount but over the miles it adds up. I retrace my route so I'm coming back with traffic half the time. I found a quiet subdivision with little traffic and I run with a small LCD light in each hand (one faces front, one backwards) for safety.

I know running with traffic is a little more dangerous but the lights help and I run on the wider streets. This has worked for me for several years.

Rich in Lexington

YY said...

Hi Allen, from the wear of the my shoes, it seems that my foot stops rotate when it gets to the center. I had tried Brooks Revenna before, and now together with Asics Cumulus. Actually, due to the fast wear of my shoes, I tried to land on the toes. Only when I had the injury that I search around, I read somewhere that everyone is different and it is OK to just land on the heel. So, now I am heel landing again.

Hi Rich, it is true that I had been running on very rough surface because there's almost no traffic throughout my run. Now, I am running on street again with pretty flat surface. And I run half the distance against traffic and the other half with traffic. Thanks for the advice of visiting podiatrist. However, we don't have podiatrist in the town that I am staying.

So, my current plan is just try around, read around and run slowly and increase my mileage slowly.

Allen said...

YY,

I'm not familiar with the shoes that you mentioned. Of the three types of shoes, which are those shoes? From your description of the soles of your shoes, it sounds like you should wear neutral shoes.

If you're concerned about the wear on your heels, you might want to use a glue gun to put a paper-thin layer of glue on your heels. That layer will last 50-100 miles. I did that for about 20 years. I stopped doing it as new shoes got better and better. Now, I just ignore the wear on my shoe-heels.

Sprinters run on their toes, but longer distance runners shouldn't do that. Landing on the heels isn't good either. Landing on the mid-foot is best.

The first thing you want to do to change from heel-strike to midfoot-strike is increasing the number of steps per minute (spm) to 170-180 spm. Doing that will force you to take smaller steps, and you'll automatically gravitate to a midfood-strike.

If possible, go to a good sports sales clerk to be sure you are getting the correct type of shoes. Take your old shoes with you so the clerk can look at the wear-pattern on your shoes. Go in the afternoon after your feet have swelled from normal walking. Wear the same socks you'll wear as you run.

YY said...

Hi Allen, those are neutral type of shoes. Applying a thin layer of glue is a good tips that I will try out.
Thanks for the tips..
YY

Anonymous said...

I am Bow legged. I run 3 miles three times a week I have read other articles on other sites saying because of my leg that I shouldn't run. will being bowlegged cause more injuries once I am increasing my mileage?
MP

Allen said...

Hi MP,

I don't remember reading any comments about being bow legged and a runner. Just remember to follow the so called 10% rule and the heavy/light principle as you run and increase your distance.