The importance of periodisation charts for runners

marathon training

So you’ve decided to run your very first half marathon! Congratulations!

When I say you’ve ‘decided’, I mean you’ve registered and paid money for the upcoming event. Anyone who’s ever participated in a running event knows all too well that it’s not real until you press the SUBMIT button on the online registration form. Until that moment, it’s still all talk.

So now that the excitement (and the realisation) is setting in, how on earth do you start training for 21kms? How do you make sure you’re fit and ready to go on race day?

Like any successfully achieved goal, you need a plan. This is where your periodisation chart helps keep you on track each week as you approach the big day.

Periodisation charts are specifically designed to help you build a road map for your weekly training routine. They ensure your training is measured in a way that ensures your cardio and strength increases at a steady and progressive rate while minimising your potential of injury due to overuse or fatigue. Most importantly, a periodisation chart is essential in making sure you’re on track from week to week by hitting each week’s set targets, whether that be in the gym (with a strength and conditioning workout) or your allocated running distance or your specific running days.

So how do I know where to start?

If you’d like to start creating your own periodisation chart, here’s a few simple steps to follow…

– Start with the end in mind

If you’re running 21kms, and the run is 12 weeks away, then work backwards from 12 weeks out and gradually build your periodisation chart with regular increased distance runs week to week. Start with what you’re capable with right now. If you can run 5kms at around 6mins per/km, then your first distance run should be around 35mins. Then gradually increase this time-based run by 5 to 10 mins each week.

– Remember… Time / Distance / Speed

If you plan to run 21kms in 2 hours, you’ll need to know how the body will react to sustained exercise for 2 hours. So focus your training on time to begin with. Start with what you’re capable of running right now. Don’t worry about distance. Just run at a steady pace for 35 minutes. Then gradually build this time by 5 to 10 minutes each week until you can run for 2 hours. This might equate to 17kms but that’s ok. Once you know your body can cope with this continued level of sustained exercise, you can start fine tuning your workouts as you draw closer to the event.

– Taper

The last distance run should be around two weeks before the event. The last two weeks should be focused around ensuring the body is ready for event day. Massage, stretch, and very short training runs are all that is needed. Oh, and you won’t need to have run 21kms before the big day. Up to 17kms is long enough. Don’t panic, your body will make the end of the run on event day.

But if you’re serious about getting an accurate periodisation chart, your first stop is with fitness coach (passionate about running) who can create a periodisation chart for you. Having an experienced coach create your running plan ensures you keep on track with your training, and can also measure your weekly results vs general fatigue. They can then adjust your plan accordingly.

For more information about having a periodisation chart created for your next event, connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or email.


To your continued health and fitness,

John Field

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