This plan assumes prior running experience. It is designed for the experienced runner who—based on a gradual progression over previous years—is ready to handle a training volume of 6 to 8 hours of running over six days each week. (Note: runners who prefer to train by distance should choose the version of this plan that tracks training volume by mileage instead of training hours.) The plan uses a 3 up, 1 down progression schedule, which means a down week is scheduled every fourth week to allow the body to recover and absorb the training. It is aimed at runners who typically adapt and recover well to increasing training volume. (Note: masters runners or runners who have had problems with “niggly” injuries in the past should instead consider the 12-Week Base Training Plan for Runners with a 2 up, 1 down progression schedule, which provides more frequent down weeks to aid recovery.)
The plan has six scheduled runs each week—three “key” workouts and three recovery workouts. The workouts adhere to the philosophy of building the aerobic base while simultaneously emphasizing the proper neuromuscular patterns (or “speed skills”) needed to prepare the runner for higher intensity training later in the season. The plan uses a periodization schedule of three weeks of increasing volume followed by a recovery week. The peak volume occurs during week 11 with nearly 8 hours of scheduled running time. This plan comes with the Multisport Training Guide, which provides information on how to determine your training intensity zones, protocols for field tests, guidance on goal setting, and general tips on nutrition and hydration.