10-Week Autumn Training Plan [Free Download]
After a long summer of running hard and training for autumn competitions, you may start to reduce your weekly mileage starting from October. This reduction in training volume as the cold season sets in is normal, but many of us are still interested in following an autumn training plan to maintain fitness levels.
Whether you’re looking to simply enhance your running technique or log a Personal Best, the post-season is the perfect chance to work on fitness but still cut the amount of time spent running. If you’re pursuing any big running-specific goals or just want to be quite fit for 2016, now is a great time to take a step back and plan your autumn running schedule.
With that in mind, I’ve put together an easy-to-follow 10 week autumn training plan for runners.
I’m highly results-driven, but I always thought that the process of making it to the end is what changes you, not the goal itself. For the start of the cold season I’ve put together a 10-week autumn training plan ending with a half marathon to help you achieve your long-term improvement goals and set you up for a successful 2016.
This training plan is perfect for those who want to stay fit this autumn without taking too much of their personal time. We all know how post-season is.
Who Is This 10 Week Autumn Training Plan For?
You can start this training plan even if you don’t have a base – you should be able to run at least a 5k though. If you’re a more experienced runner, then follow the plan strictly and work on improving your times.
Here’s what the next 10 weeks look like.
Autumn Training Plan Notes
*Jog – Run slowly, at a jogging pace. Reduce it if it feels too fast. This workout will gently exercise the main muscles used for running. Always try to judge how fit you feel during this workout. If you have a faster run coming up, then run the last kilometer / half mile a little faster.
*Build-up – Set a guideline pace (about 45s/km slower than race pace). When you become comfortable, increase your pace and maintain it. Then increase your pace a second time (close to race pace) and maintain it. Stay in control of your pace and end up finishing slow. In a nutshell, these workouts help you build speed and stamina.
*Comfortable – This is not a jog, nor a build-up workout. Set a slower guideline pace and reduce it if you feel it is too fast. Comfortable running helps you train without putting too much pressure on your body. If you are out of breath, just run slower.
*Tempo – Set a fast pace and stick with it from the beginning. If you are not able to maintain the pace then reduce it a bit, but just make sure to run above your comfort level. Note that you will be breathing a little deeper and quicker than usual.
*Race Pace – This workout should be done at a controlled pace. Don’t explore your limits and don’t push your body too much. You should be fit enough to control your effort at this point. Learn how to produce this level of effort in the last day of you training plan (the half marathon).
Run the last workout (or the official race) at a consistent pace from start to finish. Drink enough water and eat some high-energy food (e.g. bar or gel) to keep your energy up. Read our Autumn Running Tips for clothing advice during the cold season.
Don’t Forget About Strength Training
Running is a great form of cardio but it’s important to balance a running regimen with strength training. As a runner, you need a strong lower body and a solid core to reduce your risk of injuries during your run and improve your performance. While running improves your cardiovascular health and endurance, it falls short when it comes to building strength.
Strength Exercises Suggestions
Try these three strength training exercises to build strength and support your running performance during the 10 week autumn training plan.
1. Alternating Lateral Lunges
From a standing position, take a big step to your right and descent into a lunge. Make sure to keep the chest lifted, push the hips back, keep the toe pointed forward and do not allow the knee to go past the toe. Push off the heel to return to standing and then repeat on the opposite side.
The lateral lunge is an incredible exercise because it allows you to work in a different plane of motion than you typically work in most exercises.
2. Step Up
Using the stairs in your home or an aerobics step, step up with your right foot and bring your left knee up to hip height. Then step down with your left foot and step up again with your right. Complete 10-15 reps on the right side and switch to the left. The higher the step, the better workout for your glutes. You can hold dumbbells to make this more challenging.
Put your conventional leg exercises aside and try the step up for a more intense strength training workout.
3. Single Leg Glute Bridge
In a supine position with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, lift one leg into the air. Push through the planted heel and press the hips into the air, extending at the hips not at the back. Hold for 3 seconds before changing legs. Squeeze those glutes!
Glute activation exercise: master this one for a stronger, healthier body.
Read more on our blog post on strength training exercies for runners
Did you find this blog post and autumn training plan helpful? Please share with your running friends!