In 2015, I ran four races of three different distances - 2 5ks (9:20/mile and 9:04/mile), a 10k (11:15/mile), and a half marathon (11:50/mile). In 2016, I'm planning on running 2-4 5ks, 1-2 10ks, a 15k, and a half marathon. I'm about to start generating my training plans for the off-season and into next year.
Previously, I planned race-to-race. I did a very generic workout in the off-season, but I really need something more structured, and run-oriented, so I'm looking to start planning. Race season is April-October, so I'm starting to plan for how I'm going to train in the off-season.
The training plan generator that I use takes the input of a recent race time and distance, a distance that I'm training for, an intensity level, a current distance per week, when to start the plan, when the race is, and when I long run.
The only thing that I have a question about is how to appropriately chose what recent training run I provide. I plan to adjust the distance I'm training for, intensity, and distance per week appropriately for improvement and maintenance throughout the year as the dates for the races settle.
I see a few options:
- I should always choose my most recent race time and distance. No matter what I enter for the distance I'm training for, I always look at my most recent race time and generate a plan based on that.
- I should always choose my longest race time and distance. No matter what distance I'm training for, I would use my longest race.
- I should always choose my fastest pace. Regardless of what I'm training for, I build my plan around the fastest mile pace I've ever run, using that race's distance and time.
- I should choose a race time and distance closest to the distance I'm training for. For example, if I'm training for a 5k, I'd use my most recent 5k time. For 10k or 15k training, I'd choose a recent 10k or half marathon. For half marathon training, I'd choose my most recent half marathon.
Which option is preferable?
Keep in mind:
- I will be regenerating plans throughout the year, based on race distances and dates and performances in previous races. I'm just interested in what baseline I should be using for past performance every time I generate a new plan.
- Not using a training plan is not an option. I need structure, so a very generic template is not suitable. I need something that is specific, day-by-day, with distances and target times.
- I'm not interested in switching tools. Using plans generated by this tool, I managed to reduce times in the 5k (both between 2014 and 2015 and between my two 5ks in 2015) and train enough to finish my first 10k and half marathon.