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The weather may not be reflecting it yet, but the calendar doesn’t lie: spring is officially here! And you know what that means?
It’s base training time.
If you didn’t spend the winter building a base for your 2022 races, believe me, you’re not alone. As we head toward racing season, now is an ideal time to start building functional strength, aerobic capacity, and a little bit of extra speed. No matter what your races might be this spring, summer, and fall, we’ve got a training plan for you.
No races this year? No worries! You don’t need to have a goal race on the calendar for these plans to work for you! They’ll help you build fitness, keep your running interesting and well-rounded, and provide a framework you can use to guide your trail running adventures through the rest of the year.
Find our full library of training plans below, along with strength and mobility plans to incorporate every aspect of balanced, healthy training. Pick one that looks just challenging enough to remain fun, and we’ll see you on the trails.
Beginner Training Plans
If we were playing Monopoly right now, this training plan would be “GO.” It will introduce you to all the basics, from the difference between recovery and “easy” pace (hint: when in doubt, slow down) to strides, tempo runs, and trail technique. Every single trail runner you’ve ever met was a beginner once, and they’d probably all go back and use this intro plan if they could!
If you’ve never run a trail race, first of all, YOU’RE AMAZING! This 12-week plan is designed to eliminate all the guesswork and uncertainty about toeing the line for the first time. You’ll start with 17 miles per week and gradually incorporate speed and hills. Remember, there’s no such thing as too easy on easy days, and with this plan, we hope your first trail race will get you stoked for many more in the future.
There are a lot of critical differences between trail and road running, but the biggest might be pacing. Getting used to spending a couple hours on your feet will go a long way to preparing you for 13.1 miles, and this plan will help you build sustainable mileage to get to the starting line fit and healthy.
50K is one of those distances that seems impossible until you’ve done it. This plan makes your first ultra approachable, with a starting mileage of 20 miles per week and a peak of 45.
Intermediate Training Plans
Base training should make up around 80% of your mileage through most of the year, but if you took some of the winter off, now is a great time to start up again! This gradually-increasing 10-week plan will help you build a strong training foundation, maximize fitness and prepare you for an injury-free season.
This plan is perfect if you don’t have a big race in the near future but also don’t want to just….run. It’s got a little bit of everything: speed, long runs, strides, hills, threshold runs, and base training. You’ll build speed and endurance at the same time, and we guarantee you won’t be bored!
Have you hit some training plateaus? Not seeing much improvement or just feeling “blah” in your training? This plan will shake things up. It takes an extra well-rounded approach, so you can be sure you’re not leaving out any critical ingredients. You’ll build strength and a strong base with some built-in mini strength workouts.
This plan is the best possible way to build lasting speed quickly. It’s half as long as most training plans, includes a mix of fun workouts and easy runs, and will shake up your normal routine in the best possible way.
The jump from marathon or 50K to 50 miles can seem insurmountable, but we promise it’s not. If you’ve got a few trail races and a couple ultras under your belt, this plan will help you stretch your mileage to set you up for success to make the jump up in race distance.
Advanced Training Plans
If you’re looking to take your ultra running to the next level, this is your plan! The 12-week plan provides a range of mileage options starting at 31 to 65 weekly miles and reaching 50 to 95 weekly miles, including weekly workouts and guidance, geared toward supporting peak performance and long-term growth.
If the road to trail transition is a shock to the system, the trail to road transition might be even tougher. This short-range plan is designed for athletes with a strong base to prepare them for the unique physical demands of road racing and sharpen speed for a road marathon.
There are a million and one ways to train for an ultramarathon, and none of them is foolproof. But this plan is proof that you don’t need to run 100-mile weeks to be ready for a race of 50 miles or more. With weeks ranging from 30-60 miles, it’s an approachable introduction for those longer goal races.
This plan is designed for athletes who have run 50 miles before and have a strong mileage base. It’s highly customizable, with weekly mileage ranging from 20 to 100 depending on experience and the race you’re training for. Have some ultra experience but really want to gun for a PR? This is the plan for you.
This list just gets wilder as it goes, doesn’t it? But none of us would be here if we hadn’t gotten through some things we thought we might not survive. Running 100 miles falls squarely in that category. 100-milers are much more about combating and getting through muscle fatigue and mental blocks than running fast, and in 12 weeks, you’ll be ready.
What happens when you do a race that pushes your physiology beyond the horizon, only to realize that you’re not even halfway done? The frontier of 200 mile racing is exciting, but can also be scary and overwhelming. This training plan hopes to make it a bit less scary. You have permission to remain overwhelmed.
Now that you’ve got workout ideas and roadmaps, there’s room for all the toppings like chocolate sauce, nuts, cherries, and whipped cream!
After your ice cream sundae, come back here for strength, stability, and other add-ons that will take your training to the next level.
Cross Training: Whether you’re injured, susceptible to injury or just worn down, cross training is a useful tool for any runner. Use this plan to make it dovetail with your running.