Part 1 - 20 standard questions
The process starts with a list of 20 questions.
1) What is your "A" goal? 2) What are some of your other running goals? 3) What are your lifetime PRs? 4) What are all of your race times in the last year? If any of the races had extenuating circumstances (weather, sick, super hilly, etc.) as to why they are not a good judge of your fitness please include that information as well. 5) What went wrong in your best races? What held you back from doing better? Did you feel the reason you couldn't go faster was because a) you were out of breath, b) your legs felt dead tired, or c) some other reason/combination of the two? 6) Have you had any recent injuries or do you feel over the long term you are injury prone? 7) If you've suffered chronic or a recent injury was the cause running related (because we want to avoid it then)? 8) How many and which days are you willing to run each week? How much time on those specific days are you willing to devote to running? (Most important question, so the more detailed response the better.) 9) What fueling do you do during runs? What fueling do you do after runs? What fueling do you do before you run? 10) Are there specific types of runs that make you feel more fatigued than others? 11) Why do you enjoy running? What is your motivation to run? 12) Why have you chosen the goals you've chosen? 13) What type of technology do you use to run? Treadmill, garmin, heart rate monitor, phone app run tracker, etc. 14) Are there any types of fuel pre-run, during run, or post-run that you like better than others? What led you to choose these items versus others on the market? 15) For races that provide splits, do you tend to be positive, negative, or even split? Why do you think that is? 16) What other training plans have you used in the past? 17) What kind of training have you been doing the last three weeks? Mileage, pace, etc? 18) If you run/walk. When you run about what pace do you do? When you walk about what pace do you do? 19) If I told you to run as slow as you can, how fast would you be running? This would be at a pace where you're barely breathing differently than normal walking. It feels like you're barely trying. 20) Most importantly, what is your upcoming race schedule? What/when is your next "A" goal race that you want to focus your training towards?
Here I'll pull back the magic curtain and explain the rationale to each and every one of these.
1) What is your "A" goal?
It's probably the single most important thing to me when writing a plan for someone else. Finding out what their "A" goal is and what their "A" race is. Because the entirety of the plan will be focused on that goal. Whether it be "to finish", "to have fun", "BQ", "to finish without dying or feeling like death", "a certain time goal", "a new distance", or some sort of lifetime achievement. From there, it's important to figure out - how much time do we have and how reasonable is the goal? If someone says they want to break a 2 hour HM in 8 weeks, and they've raced multiple HMs in the 3 hour range, then we need to find how how reasonable that goal is. Now it's certainly something that could be achievable later in time, but the timeframe between now and the "A" race is important. I try and help the person see the bigger picture and how long given a steady improvement an attempt at an "A" goal may take.
But even more important maybe than the information it provides me, is that it forces the person to write down whatever their "A" goal is. Research has shown that if you write down your goals you are significantly more likely to achieve them. And if you write them down in public or tell someone else, then it increases the odds even more. So while I use the information to tailor the plan towards their goals, I also use it as a method to force that person to commit to the goal to themselves.
2) What are some of your other running goals?
The "A" goal is important, but for some an "A" goal can be a lifetime achievement or long term aspiration. So if someone says a "BQ" is their "A" goal, but they're 80 minutes from the qualifying standard, then it's important to find out their other more immediate goals. It helps again focus the training and to look at the big picture. It also forces them to write down more goals to aid in success.
3) What are your lifetime PRs?
The purpose is assessing the possibilities. This question can go many routes depending on the running experience of the person and the age. Some people set amazing times in their 20s and now in their 40s aren't where they were anymore. Others have their lifetime PRs as more recent. This helps set the table for me to get a big picture PR history on a person. If someone was once capable of a 22 min 5k, but now they're running 30 min 5ks, then the follow-up question would be "what's the difference between now and then?"
4) What are all of your race times in the last year? If any of the races had extenuating circumstances (weather, sick, super hilly, etc.) as to why they are not a good judge of your fitness please include that information as well.
A super important question when it comes to writing my custom training plans. The backbone of my philosophy is based on writing training plans based on time and current fitness. This question is used to assess current fitness. First off, the person informs me of all of the races in the last year. I then use a race equivalency calculator (like McMillan or Hansons) to compare those recent race performances. In general, I'm looking for the best performance. I also use the extenuating circumstances to decide why something should or should not be used as an assessment on current fitness.
So, for example. Let's say someone has the following recent races:
Marathon - 5:45:35 (first marathon) HM - 2:33:56 (in the snow, took it easy) 5K - 27:57 HM - 2:18:41 (unusually hot and I was anemic and didn't know it, felt awful but not a bad time for me) 25K - 2:42:54 5K - 28:20 (hot) 5K - 27:40 10K - 1:06:06 (stayed up too late the night before overindulging) 5K - 27:08 10 miler - 1:40:02 Marathon - 5:23:13 (bonked at mile 19, walked a lot those last few miles) 4.3 miles - 42:18 4 miles - 39:04
One of the first things I always try to do is peg current fitness. The best way to figure that out is to look at your current PRs and recent race results. Race results tell a story and allow a coach to figure out the runner's deficiency. Luckily for me, I specialize in long distance training plan writing (5k and up). Which means 95% of runners come with me with the exact same profile. Their shorter distances (5K) greatly out perform their longer distances (HM and M) when evaluated with a race equivalency. This example falls squarely in that category.
Their recent 5k - 27:08, suggests the following training paces:
From this, you can see that their 5k predicts a race equivalent HM of 2:04:37 and a M of 4:20:29.
Whereas the recent 10 mile - 1:40:02, suggests the following training paces:
From this, you can see that their 10 miler predicts a race equivalent HM of 2:13:24 and a M of 4:36:55.
As is common (95% of runners profile), as the distance increase this person falls further and further from the race equivalency. This means they currently have the "speed" to be capable of running a longer distance faster but they lack the endurance to do so. That's true of many recreational endurance runners. They lack the necessary endurance to match the race equivalency prediction. So how do you get more endurance? Lots of slow running, tempo running, and long runs maxing at 2.5 hours.
I've gotten two very useful pieces of information from this example. I now know that their current fitness is a 27:08 5k and that they perform better at the shorter distances than the longer distances. Therefore, endurance is a deficiency and a key for them to getting faster is working on that deficiency.
But it's not always so easy. Sometimes I get a response like this:
"I haven’t run a race since August 2015."
That makes the game of determining current fitness way more difficult. So in these cases, dependent on the amount of time between now and the "A" race, I might write a really short plan that errs on the slower side and then an assessment at the end. This type of plan is usually 6 weeks in duration and is just used as a measuring stick moving forward for current fitness.
Other times, I find that while the races have a relationship with each other, I don't trust the results. Someone might say this about their best 5k:
"5k recent PR - 28:50 - ran with someone else and chatted the whole way, felt tough, but took my mind off it I guess!"
But that screams to me they're likely capable of more. Then the game becomes asking them questions about different paces they run. What do they feel like? Describe the breathing? I use their descriptions of paces and the amount of time they hold a pace to better assess where their fitness may actually lie. There might be some underlying reason as to why they aren't hitting those faster paces and by asking follow-up questions it helps me dig a little deeper.
I spend a lot of time on this question (and asking follow ups) because it's my belief that the pace and duration of training matters far more than the mileage. So by figuring out someone's current fitness I can best help them train at where they currently are. Now it might cause some follow questions. "I want to run a sub-2:30 HM, but you want me to continue to train at a 2:45 HM? How does that work?" Just keep in mind that the body recognizes what your current 5k, 10k, HM, M or physiologically relevant pacing is. It doesn't know future goals. But by training at where you are, you can reduce the chances for injury and continue to make consistent and sustained improvement over time. Since many of the common recreational distances (5k, 10k, HM or M) are mostly endurance events (5k is 80% endurance and M is 99% endurance), then lots of endurance pacing will help improve everything across the board. Those endurance paces are a wide zone of slow pacing. But the faster end of the spectrum is really tight. Which means if you choose goal HM pace instead of current fitness HM pace, you might actually be training at current fitness 10k pace. Which means you're unlikely to elicit the benefits of the training you were hoping for.
5) What went wrong in your best races? What held you back from doing better? Did you feel the reason you couldn't go faster was because a) you were out of breath, b) your legs felt dead tired, or c) some other reason/combination of the two?
Mostly I'm trying to get them to figure out for themselves why a race didn't go as planned. But these reasons help me determine to a smaller extent additional deficiencies. I'll usually defer to the race equivalency recent races first, and then use this answer to support my hypothesis.
Out of breath = speed pacing Legs felt tired = endurance pacing
This isn't always the case, but it's sometimes helpful additional info.
6) Have you had any recent injuries or do you feel over the long term you are injury prone? 7) If you've suffered chronic or a recent injury was the cause running related (because we want to avoid it then)?
I need to find out where this person is right now and in the past in terms of injuries. If they've had them, how did they occur? What were the warning signs? This is a question that I come back to later in working with someone to see if this was a prior issue or something new. If they've got running related injuries, then we need to figure out the cause so we can best avoid having it occur again.
8) How many and which days are you willing to run each week? How much time on those specific days are you willing to devote to running? (Most important question, so the more detailed response the better.)
The other piece to the major puzzle. Pace is important, but so is the duration or time available to train. I always say let me know what you can commit to. Because a custom training plan that is followed near 100% is far better than a plan with more time/days per week that's followed 75% of the time. I can write a good 4 day plan and if followed 100%, can outperform a good 5 day plan that's followed 75% of the time.
How much and what days plays a big role in how the training is developed. There are golden time durations in terms of writing a plan:
30 min or less: minimal training time 30 min to 45 min: reasonable, still low 45 to 60 min: good easy training availability 60 min to 90 min: great mid-week endurance 90 min to 150 min: endurance golden zone
I don't schedule people over 150 min when they're continuous runners. For run/walk runners, I've been doing 180 min max and seen good results thus far. But my cap on run/walk runners is still in flux as I continue to gather more data. The key to the 150 min max is understanding the physiology of the running system. It is my understanding that aerobic gains cost/benefit ratio is maximized at around 150 min. Beyond that, and you'll continue to make smaller and smaller gains but the risk climbs at a much higher rate. If you want a more in-depth answer as to why, try reading this material:
LINKS TO COME!
So when I build a training plan I use the following guidelines -
Hard Workouts 1) Long Run (for endurance) 2) Tempo (either Marathon or HM dependent on race distance) 3) 5k, 10k, CV, or LT pacing (for speed work)
You get #1 for doing 3 days per week. You get #1 and 2 for doing 4 days per week. You get #1, 2 and 3 if doing 5 days per week with enough time allotted and experience. You get #1, 2 and 3 if doing 6 days per week.
Depending on the time available and the days per week starts a back and forth to determine the best course of action for them.
I think a big player in training is "cumulative fatigue" or the stacking of runs on top of each other. So for anyone looking to make gains in a HM or M, I try to place back to back runs every week. Primarily, this back to back is with the long run. So for example, a 90 min Saturday and 150 min Sunday. This stacking means that Sunday is no longer training for miles 0-10 of a race, but more like training for 10-20 or 7-13. This means you don't enter the long run at 100% freshness but rather just a little extra fatigue is carried over. It helps reduce the timeframe of recovery and thus forces an adaptation mentally and physically in your body to better prepare yourself for the rigors of race day.
But, it's not always the case that someone has the day available prior to the LR. Sometimes it's a 4 day plan with TWR and S available. Then I write the cumulative fatigue into the mid-week runs rather than the LR.
This question builds the structure of the plan. Based on this and current fitness, it also helps me go back to question 1 and 2 to help determine the current feasibility of goals.
9) What fueling do you do during runs? What fueling do you do after runs? What fueling do you do before you run?
Helps me determine what they're using and if there are any tweaks I can offer to maximize the use of fueling in races or training. I limit the use of carbs in training to runs over 90 minutes. If the run is warm/hot you are allowed to take in (and suggested to do so) electrolytes. But keep the carbs to only the runs above 90 min. Taking in any carbs when the training run is less than 90 minutes is a dampener of adaptations because it doesn't teach your body to run on fat. However, runs longer than 90 minutes require carbs because you start to increase necessary recovery time the more you starve the muscles. There are glycogen depletion training runs, but I focus on other aspects of improving performance before I pull that type of run out.
At the end of the day, most of all of us can complete a HM before we reach a state of glycogen depletion. So the use of carbs when running could be for medical reasons or as a vehicle for electrolytes. But for the purpose of glucose replenishment, it's really only the marathon that needs it. There are a few cases where it may be necessary for a HM, but it's not as common. Now it certainly won't hurt to take it in (if done correctly). Now in a training situation it's different than racing because of the repeated multiple bouts and the use in aiding in recovery. So fuel in training and racing serve slightly different purposes.
I use a calculator I built from several sources (Hansons and Benjamin Rapport's paper [Metabolic Factors Limiting Performance in Marathon Runners]) to come up with a general system for carb recommendations. It can be accomplished either mid-race or in a sophisticated carb loading procedure prior to race day.
10) Are there specific types of runs that make you feel more fatigued than others?
Typically, but not always - runs you don't enjoy could be a sign of a deficiency. So I read these answers on a case by case basis to see if I can tease apart a possible deficiency that can be improved. Because deficiency improvement is the fastest way to overall performance improvement.
11) Why do you enjoy running? What is your motivation to run? 12) Why have you chosen the goals you've chosen?
This gets to the personal level. It's important to learn about someone from the running and math side, but knowing how/why someone does what they do is highly important. It helps me learn about the runner as a person. Plus, when days come up and they may be struggling with things mid-plan, I pull this answer back up and try to use it to help motivate them back on track.
13) What type of technology do you use to run? Treadmill, garmin, heart rate monitor, phone app run tracker, etc.
To an extent, it helps me figure out how sophisticated I can get. If they've got a Garmin 235 vs a Garmin 10 vs a Timex stopwatch vs phone GPS dictates what kind of workouts I can write. Are they planning treadmill runs on certain days per week? Well then those wouldn't be great for "blind runs" where they are done by perceived effort. If they're using a heart rate monitor monitor then maybe they'd want to collect data or evaluate things from that end as well:
LINK TO COME
This question can go lots of ways dependent on what is available to them for tech.
14) Are there any types of fuel pre-run, during run, or post-run that you like better than others? What led you to choose these items versus others on the market?
I'm a big believer in post-workout nutrition supplementation. So finding out what they're using and whether I can offer assistance based on their answer starts here. I usually include this tidbit in my instructions:
"Lastly, I used to use chocolate milk after every run (8-16 oz milk with Nesquik powder). You can use commercial products instead of chocolate milk, but it gets expensive. And if something is only slightly better (commercial is better than milk), then it isn't worth nearly double the price. A carb protein ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 has been shown to decrease recovery time and rebuild muscle faster than nothing. I consume my chocolate milk within 15 minutes of finishing the run. In addition, I attempt to get a full meal within 90 minutes of finishing the run. If you consistently do the chocolate milk (or FairLife) and full meals within time, then you will see massive gains to your ability to recover between workouts and ability to store more energy in your leg muscles. I'm currently using a commercial product to try and reduce my sugar intake and feel quite confident in it."
15) For races that provide splits, do you tend to be positive, negative, or even split? Why do you think that is?
Another question that helps identify deficiencies. Start too fast? Start too slow? Leaving time on the table because of decisions mid-race. Figure these things out and we can optimize race day performance.
16) What other training plans have you used in the past?
Helps set the table for what has worked and hasn't. Helps me figure out what buttons to push moving forward to increase performance. Liked Galloway? Liked Hansons? Liked McMillan? Liked Daniels? I can tailor plans to try and see if we can hit the same deficiencies that I've been assessing throughout the questions.
17) What kind of training have you been doing the last three weeks? Mileage, pace, etc?
An important question as to not put them in a bad position starting out. The training plan should be progressive from start to end. So I can write something that starts at 50 miles per week, but it wouldn't be wise if they've been doing 20 miles per week lately. We've got to bridge the gap and optimize the plan for where they currently are. Does that mean it might end up a less than optimal plan? Sure. But two training cycles from now, they may be in position for the optimal plan. So it's important to know where someone is now, so I can take them where I want them to be safely.
18) If you run/walk. When you run about what pace do you do? When you walk about what pace do you do?
There are 4 variables to run/walk:
Run pace Run duration Walk pace Walk duration
Walk pace is essentially fixed as everyone has their comfortable walking pace. Walk duration is fixed as Galloway currently recommends 30 seconds. Here's my explanation as to why (LINK TO COME). That leaves the run pace and duration to be manipulated to determine run/walk pacing. What I try and do is write run/walk pacing based on the same physiological parameters that I would use for a continuous runner. At the core of it, no matter if you run/walk or continuous run there is still a similar physiological background that can be used.
As an example, this is a run/walk I setup:
Question 4 led me to believe this person's current fitness is a 36 min 5k. I then plugged that into my pacing calculator to get the following physiologically relevant current fitness paces. Their nearly 100% aerobic pace is ~14:13. The aerobic threshold (so right close to 100% but just under) is 13:16 (or M Tempo). And so on down the line. From Question 18, it was determined their walking pace was a 16:40 min/mile. My goal was to determine a Galloway LR pace (or M Tempo + 2 min). So in this case an average pace of 15:16 min/mile. Given the walking pace/duration is fixed, that leaves two variables: run pace and run duration. For the Galloway easy/LR the purpose is endurance building. So that means the run pace should be at or near the aerobic threshold (so as to keep their gains in the endurance zone). So I chose a pace of 14:05 (between M Tempo and LR). That only leaves run duration. I played with the run time until I got the average pace to be 15:16. So in this specific case, that meant 30/30 at 14:05/16:40. This should be a relatively easy pace for this runner. As time progresses of using the plan, this person will check in periodically to ensure they agree that it is easy.
From there, I follow the same exercise in writing the HM and 10k pacing. In this particular case, this person's goal race is a HM. If they were instead aiming for a M, then I'd do a specific pace for that. I try to have at least three paces in the plan: easy/LR (which is about 80% of the training), Tempo (race pace), and something faster than goal race pace. The variety ensures that we're challenging multiple physiological areas to improve performance across the board. I'm always paying attention to the relative pace of the run and the duration to ensure that it doesn't go too far. Ideally, I don't have someone run "mile PR" pace for 120 seconds because that's a killer workout.
19) If I told you to run as slow as you can, how fast would you be running? This would be at a pace where you're barely breathing differently than normal walking. It feels like you're barely trying.
This is a good check for me. In general, I'm looking for their response to be around the determined EA/EB pacing. That EA/EB pace is the "very easy pace" and I want to make sure their gut instinct matches up with what I come up with based on their data. If question 4 and 19 don't match, then I tend to ask followup questions to determine one way or the other. If they're really easy pace, turns out to be their 10k pace, then I'm definitely going to need to dig deeper.
20) Most importantly, what is your upcoming race schedule? What/when is your next "A" goal race that you want to focus your training towards?
Races play a huge role in the training plan. We want to focus the training towards the "A" race. But the more "B" races that are added to the calendar takes away from the training plan (unless the "B" race is treated like a training run). There's a time and a place for a good effort "B" race within an "A" race training plan. But any race needs necessary recovery from it, so that we don't push the runner too far into overtraining and thus they stop thriving because of the training and end up just surviving the training. Thriving leads to recovery and adaptation, but surviving stunts adaptation and only focuses on recovery. If you thrive, you'll get better. If you survive, you'll end up injured or stagnated with your improvements.
I follow the philosophy of one rest/easy day for every 3k racing. So:
5k = 2 easy/rest days 10k = 3 easy/rest days HM (21k) = 7 easy/rest days M (42k) = 14 easy/rest days
Would you be able to complete a hard training run prior to those windows? Sure. But it may or may not come back to haunt you later in the plan. So I treat recovery as just as an important factor as the training itself. Respect the training and the recovery and you can continue to make gained improvements over a long period of time.
It's with those 20 questions that we move forward. A lot of back and forth occurs after those initials questions so I can come up with the pillars of the training plan:
A) Current Fitness B) Time available to train C) Race schedule
With those I can start the writing process!
Part 2 - Structure of the plan
The 20 questions part serves as the beginning. It allows me to develop the key aspects of the training:
A) Current Fitness B) Time available to train C) Race schedule
With these I can move the process forward into the writing phase. The questions phase typically lasts anywhere from a few hours, to days, to even weeks. I can't start writing the plan until the runner and I come to an agreement on the above three key aspects.
The writing phase is when I move over to Excel. I input the different current fitness paces we plan to use into the pacing codes:
or Continuous example
In general, the plan is written as 80% easy and 20% hard. With the 80% easy being paces at LR or slower (either Galloway's +2 min or M Tempo +~9%). The other 20% is the hard (or fun stuff). So in the above continuous example, 80% of that person's training will be at a 9:58 min/mile or slower. For the run/walker, 80% is at 12:29. Since endurance is the foundation of every recreational race distance from the 5k and up, then a large portion of the training is in that endurance zone.
Essentially I just go through and pick and choose which types of paces I'm going to incorporate into someone's plan for the hard pacing. This goes back to what race distance the "A" race is, their experience with running/racing, and their goal for the "A" race. That's how I come up with the other hard 20%. In general, I choose pacing at and faster than the intended race distance. So if you're aiming for improvement at 5k/10k pacing, then you may either spend time at mile/3k pacing + race distance OR race distance + M Tempo. It depends on the individual and whether they needed more speed or endurance work. What was their deficiency? Or maybe they're coming off a block of endurance pacing and could use something new to stimulate the system.
In both of these examples above, I went with a faster and at pace system. So the run/walker is training for a HM. So they will have HM pacing and 10k pacing. The continuous runner is training for a 10k. So they'll have mile, 3k, Threshold, and M Tempo training. Paces at and faster. But again, these only represent 20% of the total training load. The grand majority is the easy pacing.
When I first start with a plan, I change the dates from this week up until the week of the "A" race.
I've got my start of the plan with dates, and weeks to go. In general, I'm looking for at least 8 weeks prior to the race and best case in the 12-16 weeks range. The bodies adaptations to paces work on a 3 week scale. The cardiovascular improvements from a training cycle occur around 8 weeks of training. The muscular/skeletal improvements after 12 weeks. So dependent on these ranges allows me to figure out where that person will be at different points in the training. I work with a Monday to Sunday schedule. All of the boxes from "WU" to "RI 2 Dist." are for coding the different types of workouts into. The description is the key box that tells the runner what they're suppose to do on that day. It's been my experience that runners prefer their training plans written in a certain way. I could write either of the following:
Run 120 min at a 10 min/mile. Run 12 miles at a 10 min/mile.
In my experience, runners prefer the mileage based system. But in fact, I write the plan based on time and pace. Mileage is one of my last concerns when writing. So for the purpose of me, I focus on most everything else. But for the ease of use for the runner, I make sure the description is in miles (or distance).
I separate out my easy/hard pacing. For the user I give mileage summaries. For me, I'm more focused on "total" (or the total time spent training). And then the red number represents the longest run of the week divided by the total mileage of the week. My goal is to keep the longest run to be in the 25-30% of the weekly mileage. Above 25-30% and you may not be well equipped to handle that type of mileage in the longest run. That person may spend more time focusing on the long run, when there are so many other aspects of training that could be beneficial. I'm willing to go to 35%, but I've got to be able to justify it based on the answers they've provided in their questions. Less available time to train during the week usually means the long run won't be maxed. But that's ok. Because you can still thrive with training less than the max. But if we take you to the max without the proper balance in other areas of the plan, then you risk moving into the survive zone of training.
Once I've got the weeks setup. I fill in the race schedule. Since races will greatly manipulate the schedule, I need to account for them along the way. So I type in the different races and whether they are "A", "B" or supported training runs.
If there are any "B" races, then I need to put in the taper runs before and recovery runs after. For a 5k/10k, I have no hard workouts within 4 days prior to the event. For a HM/M, no hard workouts within 10 days of the event. And then after the event, we go back to the "for every 3k of race equals one rest/easy day". So if someone has two HMs in a plan, then that means the "B" HM mid-plan must be followed by either 7 easy or rest days. After that, training can resume again where it left off. So if you start to do the math, you can see how big of an impact a "B" race can have on a training plan. For example, a HM has 10 days proceeding and 7 days after. That's 17 days of no hard workouts! If you were following a 6 day a week plan, then you lose out on 5 or 6 hard workouts for a single "B" race. A 10k would cost you 7 days total or potentially 3 hard workouts. So I always try to impress upon the runners during the Q/A striking a balance between "B" races and supported training runs. And if you previously agree to a supported training run, but then find yourself treating it like a "B" race on race day, then you'll still necessitate the recovery time afterwards. At the end of the day, we all do this for fun. So each individual person has to decide what they want out of this experience. There is no right or wrong answer to whether a race should be "B" or supported training run. Rather there are just outcomes because of the choices made. Like maybe it makes that "A" race goal just a little harder to obtain with all of the "B" races sprinkled throughout the training.
Once all the races are inputted, then it's time to go back to the runner's availability. What was their daily schedule?
Some do 3 days per week (T, R, Weekend) Some do 4 days per week (T, R, Sa, Su) or (M, W, F, Sa) or (T, W, R, Sa) etc. Some do 4/5 days per week *where they alternate back and forth between 4 days in a week and then 5 days in a week Some do 5 days Some do 5/6 days *where they alternate back and forth between 5 days in a week and then 6 days in a week Some do 6 days
Whatever we agree upon during the Q/A is then placed into the schedule. Here's an example of a schedule I received:
Alternating 4/5 days per week. On 4 days per week (Tues, Wed, Fri, Sun) and on 5 days per week (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sun)
That's at the core to a custom training plan. Whatever you can do, I can write for. It fits the training around your schedule rather than the other way around. You've got daycare, or work trips, or lunch breaks, or time with kids on the weekend, or unlimited Wednesdays. Whatever the case may be, I set the training days and time based on the user.
Now once I've got my "off" days, race days, and necessary taper/recovery from "B" races written in, then I've got the structure of the plan finished. The next step is to start inputting the workouts.
Part 3 - Long Runs and Easy Runs
Once the structure is set up, then it's time to populate the plan with the bulk of the training - Long Runs and Easy Runs. As previously explained, this makes up about 80% of my training plans. If you want some additional reading as to why an 80% easy and 20% hard split works, read the original research by Stephen Seiler (