How to Choose the Right Run Training Plan

Jeff Knight
by Jeff Knight
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How to Choose the Right Run Training Plan

Now that spring is here, it’s time to start planning your run goals for the season. Whether you’re looking to set a half marathon PR or tackle your first 5K, we’ve got you covered. UA MapMyRun’s new and improved Training Plans are designed to help make all runners better.

No matter where you’re starting from, we have a plan that matches your fitness level and goal. The plans update continuously based on your performance and progress to fit your actual running level at all times. Miss a workout? No worries, we’ve got you covered. The plan automatically adjusts. Plus, just like the real thing, Audio Coaching guides you through every run with cues to indicate when to speed up or slow down on intervals.

Training Plans require an upgrade to our premium MVP membership, so upgrade today and get started on your training. To find Training Plans in the app:

1. Open the MapMyRun app and access your menu.

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2. Select Training Plans.

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3. Choose a race distance, then complete the next steps to customize your training plan based on your current fitness level and running goal.

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4. Select your preferred plan, then tap “next.”

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5. Enter your start date, race date, days you want to train, day you want to complete your long run and the time you want to receive reminder notifications. Tap “create plan.”

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To make it even easier for you to jump into your training this season, here’s a quick guide on how to pick a plan based on your goal and fitness level.

If you want to start running … choose a Learn to Run 5K plan.

If you’re just getting into running, the key to succeeding is gradually learning how to increase the distance you run. Sure, it may seem intimidating to run for 30 minutes straight if you haven’t done it before, but by easing into it with jogging and walking intervals, your body will adapt to the impact and strenuous nature of running. For those brand new to running, the Learn to Run 5K plan is the best option. If you’ve run before but haven’t in awhile due to injury or an extended break, or if you’re otherwise active but are new to running, the Beginner 5K plan might be right for you. By the time you finish either 5K training plan, you’ll be able to tackle a 5K confidently.

Training Tips

Your body has to adjust to a lot of changes during the early stages of a Learn to Run 5K plan. To ensure your movements are fluid, incorporate foam rolling into your routine. Also, running doesn’t require a lot of gear, but the stuff it does require is crucial. If you haven’t invested in proper running shoes, and especially if your current shoes are over a year old, pick up some new kicks to run at your best.

If you want to build your endurance … choose a half marathon plan.

Half marathon training is a great plan to take on if you want to increase the distance you’re able to cover. The Audio Coach will keep you updated on your status with voice feedback throughout your longer runs. The half marathon plan will help you build more endurance as you progress through the recommended weeks without requiring the full 26.2-mile commitment.

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Training Tips

During the course of a 10-mile run, you may take close to 20,000 steps! To keep your body prepared for the pounding, add some strength training or core workouts to your regimen 2–3 times per week. Additionally, these longer runs require proper nutrition to get the most out of your training. Aim to consume a snack with a mix of carbohydrates and protein (3:1 ratio of carbs to protein) within 30 minutes of completing your run. Follow this up with a wholesome meal an hour or two later to maximize that training session.

If you’re planning to chase a PR … pick a speed goal.

To satisfy your need for speed, go faster with 5K and 10K training plans. These plans include more scheduled interval workouts to help you improve your pace and get your body used to handling both short and long intervals. No matter what distance you choose, if it’s a faster pace you’re after, tempo runs and interval sessions will be a focal part of your plan. The in-depth statistics available on all of our Premium training plans will be especially helpful when your goal is to run faster because they provide valuable insights into your performance and highlight where you can improve.

Training Tips

Speed workouts you’ll complete in 5K and 10K training plans are a lot of fun, but they require mental focus and prep. Make sure you eat light meals no later than 2 hours before these runs to avoid stomach discomfort and unplanned restroom breaks. Proper hydration is also important to run at your best during this training plan. Aim for around 2–3 liters (about 68–100 fluid ounces of water per day and, during exercise, try to take in 4–8 ounces of water or an electrolyte-enhanced sports drink every 15–20 minutes to keep up with hydration. And, like in a half marathon plan, strength training is key to staying healthy throughout a 5K or 10K plan. Aim for 2–3 sessions per week to stay in peak condition.

Every personal training plan is designed to adapt dynamically to your fitness level, and will adjust automatically as you go. Keeping up with your training plan is easy since you’ll see your planned workouts whenever you launch your app. If you ever do miss a workout, your plan will adjust to reflect your progress, keeping you on track. Since it’s important to supplement your training with strength sessions in between your runs, we’ve made it easy to schedule additional workouts into your training plan.

Go MVP to create your first Premium training plan and reach your running goals. Now that you have the tools and know how to get started, it’s time to start training!

To read more details about Training Plans on MapMyRun, check out our FAQs page.

About the Author

Jeff Knight
Jeff Knight

Jeff Knight is a clinical exercise physiologist for Under Armour. He coaches runners at every level, from the grade-school  to professional athletes, including many U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers. Jeff has overseen run training for one of the largest adult running groups in the U.S., providing training plans for more than 3,500 runners per year. Jeff holds master’s degrees in exercise physiology and biochemistry and has a passion for all things sports science, particularly improving basic health through smarter exercise and technology.  

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