View My Training

Ten Time-Tested Training Tips

As an athlete and coach my goals are always long-term: What can we do now so that we are still enjoying running decades from now?

With athletes from all over the world, of all ages, abilities, and aspirations, I am often asked for general guidelines to lead them toward their long term goals.  

I generally say that each athlete is different and it is important for us to find what works best for them.

That being said, there are a few general training principles that are applied universally from the most consistent athletes and coaches in the sport.

The following ten tips are good for all athletes to keep in mind, particularly people just getting into the sport and/or coming back from time away.

  • Gradually increase your volume.
  • Avoid increasing total weekly volume by more than 10% per week.
  • Avoid increasing your longest run by more than 10% from week to week. 
  • The long run should equal 20% to 25% of total weekly volume.
Volume/Intensity Equilibrium over the course of a training cycle
  • Gradually increase intensity.
  • When increasing volume, maintain or decrease intensity.  
  • When increasing intensity, maintain or decrease volume.
  • Run on soft surfaces as often as possible to enable your body to run more without as much stress on your bones and joints.   
  • Replace shoes regularly (every 300-500 miles) to avoid overuse injuries. 
  • Stress + rest = progress (Greg McMillan is notorious for saying this).  Take regular down (low volume or low intensity) weeks, or off days.

These are general principles that can be applied generally.  There are bound to be exceptions to each of these rules.  As I said before, these should provide a good starting point for beginning runners, runners coming back from time off, or runners struggling with regular injuries.  

Regardless of the age, experience level, or ability of the athlete it is important for athletes and coaches to work together to find what works best for them.  Finding the right balance of stress, rest, and stimulus will be the key to your long term success.