The 7 components of the perfect training week for running

When it comes running, there are so many different modes of training that can make you fitter and faster. But how are you supposed to know which types of workouts you should do weekly? How do you know what the perfect training week for running is?

Well, here at Running Faster, we have laid out the 7 components needed for a perfect training week. These components are useful for every runner, regardless of the distance you’re training for!

1: Easy runs

Easy runs are fundamental for getting fitter, no matter who you are. If you’re a new comer to running it’s most likely that you’re only doing easy runs, but why is that? Well, it’s because they’re easy.

Easy runs are great for runners of all abilities, as they provide a great aerobic benefit without putting much strain on the body. This allows you to run further, burn more calories and even actively recover between harder efforts! Great right?

Easy runs help flush your legs of lactic acid, improve running efficiency and even teach your body to burn fat more efficiently.

Check out our other articles about easy running…

2: Interval workouts

Interval workouts are defined as spending a set amount of time/distance at an intense effort, split up by period of rests. For example, a typical interval workout could be 8x800m repetitions with a 2minute rest in between.

Just like you’re easy runs, interval workouts can provide a massive aerobic benefit. This type of training allows you to get your heart rate high, breathe heavily and expose your muscles to lactic acid and fatigue. You’re probably thinking: that doesn’t sound fun! And that’s a matter of perspective, however, interval training is vital for a successful training plan.

Interval training in essence teaches your body to become more efficient at higher speeds. Take the 8x800m workout for example; if you run these at 5:00/mile pace enough times, 6:30/mile pace will start to feel very easy!

It’s important however to keep interval workouts specific to the distance you’re targeting. A marathon runner may use a 12x1000m interval session leading up to a race, but that wouldn’t be much use for a 1500m runner (5x600m would be more applicable for a 1500m runner).

3: Tempo workouts

Tempo workouts, sometimes referred to as ‘lactic threshold’ workouts, involve running at the pace just before you start to produce lactic acid. What does mean? They’re tough, but tolerable.

The best way I’ve heard tempo workouts described is: “you should finish the workout feeling that you could’ve done another mile” which accurately reflects the amount of effort is needed.

If you run a tempo workout too fast, your legs will tell you! You’ll accumulate lactic acid and quickly you’ll fatigue and slow down. They’re typically done at 75-85% of your maximum heart rate and can be great confidence boosters if done right!

This type of workout actually teaches your body to become more lactic resistant. In short, if you do enough tempo workouts, it’ll be easier for you to run faster for longer. This will definitely come in handy in the latter part of a race when you’re starting to tire.

These should be done regularly, and it’s important that you alter your tempo pace as your form progresses. For example, a marathon runner may have a tempo pace of 5:30/mile at the start of the training block, but after 10 weeks of training that could be 5:15/mile. Why is this? Well, their body wouldn’t learned to cope with 5:30/mile pace effectively, so you need to gradually run quicker to get the same positive benefit from a tempo workout.

4: Speed workouts

If you’re a marathon runner or a middle distance runner, you need speed training! We have published an article about why every runner needs speed training.

Sprint training helps develop strength, base maximum speed and allows you to become a much more efficient runner. You can often find elite marathon runners still hitting 200m repetitions on their local track because setting aside time to develop your speed belongs in the perfect training week for running.

It has a similar benefit to tempo workouts: if you usually run 6:30/mile pace, but then you develop your speed for 12 weeks, 6:30/mile pace is going to feel much easier. This means that you’ll be able to run faster with less effort!

Check out our other articles about easy running…

5: Long runs

If you’ve been running for a while, getting out for a long run on a Sunday morning is probably something you do weekly, but why do you do it?

It may seem fairly obvious, but long runs effectively improve your ability to run for further and longer! If I’m honest, a lot of runners have told me that their Sunday long run is their favourite run of the week. This is because along with the obvious aerobic benefit, long runs are great for your psyche too, hence their spot on the perfect training week for runners.

The only purpose of a long run is to go out and run for a long period of time. You don’t have to worry about pace, you can just run, listen to music or chat with your running partners. This can help serve as a great mental re-set at the end of a tough training week, ready for you to buckle down again next week and tackle your workouts.

For marathon runners, long runs can actually become workouts. For example, you could go for a 16 mile run, but make sure that the middle 8 of those miles are at marathon race pace. This just proves how great the long run is, as it can be very versatile!

6: Strength workouts

An often overlooked aspect of training for runners is strength training. What do I mean by this? It can be anything from body weight core exercises to squatting heavy weights in the gym. A lot of runners, especially longer distance runners, neglect their strength training as they believe its counter intuitive.

However, how are you supposed to make your legs stronger when you’ve been running for a long time? How are you supposed to make your core stronger when you are running for a long time? Strength training!

The stronger your legs are, the more efficient and more explosive you can become with your running. The stronger your core is, the longer you can hold the perfect running form. It’s a supplementary type of training that can be highly beneficial for runners!

An example of a great strength workout for runners is: 4×10 dumbell lunges, 4×10 squats, 4×10 glute bridges, 4×10 calf raises followed by: 4x1minute plank, 4x1minute side plank, 4×30 sit ups and 4×30 leg raised.

Want to know what the perfect training week is for you personally? Let us create a personalised training plan for you! We’ll help you reach your goals and become fitter, faster and healthier. Just click the link below:


7: Rest

Finally, and most importantly, we come to rest. Rest is the most critical part of a training week for runners. Without it, we will all crash and burn, and inevitably over train.

What do I mean by rest? Surprisingly, it doesn’t just mean taking a rest day. For the more seasoned runners, you can rest by actively recovering! This means doing a very light and easy workout, like an easy run or an easy bike session.

The best mode of rest, that every single runner needs to implement, is sleep! The average person needs 8 hours sleep in order to fully recover. A runner? Try 9, or even 10 hours sleep to fully recover. In short, the longer we sleep, the fresher we feel the next day. The fresher we feel the next day, the better we can train!

An example perfect training week for running

Below I have laid out an example of a perfect training week. This is for a Running Faster runner who has been training for 8 years and it targeting the 5,000m distance.

MondayAM: 45min BikePM: 8 miles easy
TuesdayAM: Strength SessionPM: 10x2min Intervals (2min rest), 8x100m sprints
WednesdayAM: 45min BikePM: 8 miles easy
ThursdayAM: Strength SessionPM: 4miles steady, 8x100m sprints
FridayAM: 45min BikePM: Rest
SaturdayAM: 4x1mile tempoPM: 4miles easy
SundayAM: Long runPM: Rest

Of course, this training week isn’t for everyone. However, you can see how it has incorporated every component of the perfect training week.

If you would like to have a personalised training plan made specifically for you, regardless of your ability, then click here. We can guide you to fitness, whilst giving you top tips to make the running life easier!

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  1. This is great information! Can you elaborate a little more with tempo run? Essentially, is it just doing a little more every time? Thanks again, and great content!

    1. Thank you! For your tempo run, you should work up from 3x1mile to 5mile continuous of a specific pace, which is fast and relaxed and you should only really generate lactic acid in the last mile (if at all). However, as you get fitter it’s important to make sure you’re targeting a pace fast enough for the desired effect! So when you get comfortable running 5miles at that pace, try and run 5 seconds per mile quicker the next time!

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