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How to Build Your Spring Training Plan

Planning to tackle an endurance race or event this summer? Here are five tips to consider as you’re building your training plan this spring

Have an ambitious endurance goal you’re hoping to accomplish this summer? Whether you’re planning to hike the West Coast Trail or have registered to toe the starting line at your half marathon, here are five tips to consider as you’re building your training plan this spring.  
 
Plan backwards from your goal
The best way to ensure you have a fun, safe and successful time training is to pick a goal race or event and work backwards from that date when structuring your training plan. The duration of your plan will depend on your current fitness level and the endurance race or activity you’re training for, but an 8- to 12-week plan for a shorter endurance race (such as a 10K, half marathon, 20-50K bike ride/race or day hike) and 12- to 17-week plan for a longer endurance race (such as a marathon, 20-30K trail race, 80-100K bike ride or multi-day hike) is a good place to start. From there, factor in any vacation days or times when you know you’re unable to train, a three-week taper period (where you cut back on volume and mileage in the three weeks leading up to the race), and structure your workouts accordingly based on the following tips below.
 
Increase mileage by no more than 10% per week
If you’re building up your run or ride distance, doing two to three short runs or rides per week and one longer run or ride that increases in mileage by no more than 2-3 km week (so your total training volume increases by no more than 10% per week) is a safe and effective way to improve your cardio capacity. So for example, if your long run day is 8 km on week one, it can increase to 11 km on week two.
 
Sign up for a test race or event
A great way to prepare your body and mind for your goal race or activity is to sign up for a shorter duration test race about a month out from your event. If you’ve registered for a half marathon, sign up for a 5K or 10K race for a speedy run workout and to get a feel for the racing experience. If a marathon is on the menu, test your race pace and nutrition strategy at a half marathon or 15K race. Be sure to include your test race into your overall plan so you don’t miss any key long runs or workouts.
 
Don’t forget resistance training!
Adding some form of resistance training to your training plan is beneficial, no matter what sport or activity you’re training for. Doing two to three resistance training sessions per week—such as lifting free weights, using machines at gym, using resistance bands, or simply performing dynamic and isometric exercises with your own body weight—on non-consecutive days from now until about two weeks before your event will help you improve your overall strength, correct muscle imbalances, improve your power output and decrease your chance of injury during training and on race day.
 
Build in recovery time
Rest and recovery days are just as important as workout days when it comes to training, as that’s when your body works to repair itself from the week’s activities. Rest days allow your muscles time to rebuild, making you better, faster and stronger as your training progresses. Be sure to have at least one full rest day on your training plan per week, with a lower mileage/easier workout week about six to seven weeks out from your race or event, or every four to five weeks depending on the duration of your training plan.

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