5 Tips to Choosing a Training Program & Sticking With It!

Congratulations! You took the steps to commit to either start running, get back into it, or run a distance you’ve never done before, now what? Well, now you need to find a training program that will guide you through this exciting journey so that you don’t get injured! Where do you even start?

1. Consider looking at several different plans.  Find a plan that realistically works with your schedule.  If you can commit to running 3 days a week, don’t select a plan that has 4 or 5 running days because if you miss the runs you’ll feel badly about yourself and that’s not the purpose of training plans! If you find several plans that have things that you like about them feel free to combine some of them to make it fit your schedule. Be sure you give yourself enough time for your training, don’t try to pack a lot of work into an 8 or 12 week plan if it’s not reasonable for your lifestyle.

2. Think about what your goal is with your training plan.  Do you want this plan to help you run without feeling like you’re dying the whole time? Do you want this plan to help you cross the finish line successfully? Do you want to feel stronger during your run so you finish with a better time? What is the purpose of your goal? Having a solid idea will help you stick to your plan.

3. Find someone to train with. Want to stay held accountable and motivated during your training? Find someone who is working towards a similar goal. It will keep you motivated to get the workout in and it will give you something to look forward to.  Plus, it’s always nice to have someone to talk to about what you’re working towards. Someone who really gets what you’re saying!

4. Don’t feel badly if you miss a run or workout. Life happens.  Illness happens. Sometimes you just can’t make it happen no matter how hard you try. Sometimes you’re body is aching and shouting at you for a break. Listen to it and take an extra rest day. Whatever happens, don’t feel badly for missing or skipping a work out.  You will NOT forget how to run. You will NOT lose the work you put in.  If anything, you’ll feel more focused and ready to work the next time you’re scheduled do.

5. Think about ways to reward yourself. A long training plan can be daunting.  8, 12, 16, 18 weeks, whatever you choose, is a long time! Select certain milestones within your training plan that seem like a big deal and then decide what your reward is for when you accomplish that week, day or run.  It is important to reward yourself as you go for all of the hard work you’re doing.  Treat yourself to a donut, pizza, new clothes, running gear (like we really need it), cookies or a pedicure. Whatever it is that gets you excited!  When I was training for my marathon I bought myself an Alex and Ani bracelet but I wouldn’t let myself have it until I ran my 20 mile run. I had it for 2 or 3 weeks, sitting on the kitchen counter, as a daily reminder of my reward. It felt amazing to slip on that bracelet after my run! I earned it, for sure!

Different training plans to consider:

5k training plans- from beginner to advance looking to increase speed

Couch to 5k

Hal Higdon 5k Training Plans

Runner’s World

Jeff Galloway- Run/Walk program

10k training plans- from beginner to advance

Hal Higdon 10k training plans

Runner’s World- Run your first or your fastest

Jeff Galloway 10k plan

Women’s Running Magazine 10k Training plan Sub 60 minutes

Half Marathon training plans:

Halfmarathons.net Great plan for beginners (several of our members have used this one)

Hal Higdon half marathon plan

Jeff Galloway half marathon run/walk plan

Runner’s World half marathon plans

Marathon training plans:

Hal Higdon marathon plan

Jeff Galloway marathon plan

Runner’s World marathon plans

Cool Running marathon plan

PopSugar Beginner Marathon plan



One thought on “5 Tips to Choosing a Training Program & Sticking With It!

  1. Great blog! I would also add Run Less, Run Faster to your list of training plans. These are great for those of us who run 3 days a week or want help figuring out exact pacing to beat a time goal!


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