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You're a novice runner and want to avoid making any mistakes as you take up running.
You're already an experienced runner, but want to reach a new level.
The best way to achieve this is to choose a training plan that matches your own running level or is tailored to the race you want to prepare for.
Before choosing your training plan, the first question you should ask yourself is how much time you can devote to your running (1, 2, 3, 4, etc. times a week) without it having an impact on your family or work life. Sport should never cut you off from everyday life or else your noble intentions will be short-lived.
Once you've established the right frequency of training, you just need to decide how many weeks you are going to spread your preparation over. Here again, most training plans come in several versions of varying lengths. In each case, it's best to choose the longest option since this will build up most gradually, thus ensuring you are as well prepared as possible.
All training plans include three types of session:
Now you know a bit more about the fundamentals of training, why not devise your own training plan?
It is certainly very rewarding to successfully achieve your racing goal after managing everything yourself (both the training and running aspects). BE CAREFUL though since this is a double-edged sword. You will often tend to over-train since you'll be haunted throughout your preparation period by a doubt that you haven't done enough.
Also, even though most champions know all about training methods inside out, they ensure they are supported by an outside "eye" during their training. This gives them a more objective analysis of the effort they are making. They hand over responsibility for this aspect of their training so that they can completely devote themselves to the sports aspect.
At least for your first few years of running, the safest option is to rely on training plans that have already proved effective. But there's nothing to stop you adapting them to your wishes and constraints.
Anyway, I wish you every success during your training sessions. As long as you do them in the right conditions, i.e. those that suit you best, they will be effective.
Enjoy your preparation
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