Tuesday Training: Creating Your Weekly Schedule

This month on Tuesday training we’re getting ready for your next training goals. So far, we’ve covered Setting Smart Goals, Building your (Race) Schedule, and reviewed Cold-Weather Running Gear needs & wants. This week, it’s time to talk about creating your weekly workout schedule.

But before we get started – pop on over to Lindsay’s List for this week’s Kettleball Edition of Tuesday Trainer. I’ve never done a Kettleball workout, so I left this week’s moves to the experts, but plan to give it a try (after the race on Thursday). Have you ever done a Kettleball Workout?

Building Your Weekly Schedule

Weekly Schedule Template

I’m a spreadsheet nerd (if you haven’t figured that out yet), so you know I made a spreadsheet to plan my schedule. I use a template that works for me whether I’m training for triathlon, duathlon, or running. You’ll see right now I’m really run focused, with daily yoga on the schedule as part of the 30 Days of Yoga Challenge. In December, it’s time to start adding in cycling as we get closer to 2012 and multisport season.

So how do you get from goal to race schedule to this weekly schedule?

  1. Put your races on the weekly schedule. You’ll see in the snapshot above, I highlighted Thursday (Thanksgiving day) and added the half-marathon distance to the run row.
  2. Outline the big workouts leading up to your key races. When training for running races (like this week’s half marathon), that means laying out my long runs. I start with the goal race and work my way backwards.
  3. Now it’s time to fill in the rest of your workouts. Take a look at your current weekly volume and start with the same weekly volume. There are two schools of thought on building your weekly volume each subsequent week. The traditional approach: no more than 10% increase in weekly volume per week. If you are currently running 20 miles per week, the next week could increase to 22 miles. Another approach I’ve seen recently is increasing no more than 10 miles at a time, but then holding that mileage for 3-4 weeks.
  4. Schedule recovery weeks, no matter which approach you took above. Every 3-4 weeks, schedule a week with around 20% less volume than the previous. If you had built to 26 miles per week, cut back to 21 miles for your recovery week. You can start from the last build week as you continue to increase your mileage.
  5. Last step, plan the details of each workout. Think about the purpose and pace of each workout. Intervals, Tempo, Progression, Hill Repeats….there are a lot of possibilities. If you’re just getting started, just getting in the miles might be enough. If you’re focused on your times, you’re going to want more structure around each to help you improve. Look at other schedules online, look back at what has worked for you in the past, or reach out for help. Coaches are a great resource and can be a worthwhile investment – and save you a LOT of time in planning. Decide what makes sense for you.

Schedule Planning Resources

If spreadsheets and planning from scratch are not your style, there are some great online resources to get you started. A few I have used in the past:

  • Runner’s World SmartCoach: A free online tool that builds a schedule based on your goal race and recent race results.


  • Hal Higdon: Standard training programs for multiple distances and abilities, from 5K to Ultras and everything in between. Also features walk training programs.


  • Cool Running: An online training community site, with training plans for multiple distances. This is the home of the Couch to 5K training program, which I used to train for my first 5K in 2002.


  • Beginner Triathlete: An online training community site, with training plans focused on triathlons. This site is a friendly place for beginners, but many triathletes stick around for years! This also has a dynamic, full-featured training log that I use to track my workouts (and have for years).  image

I hope you learned something new today! Are you ready to go build your own schedule or have you found a good site to download a plan to get started? I’d love to hear any questions you have on getting started training for your next race. What would you like to see in next week’s Training Tuesday?

Before I wrap up for day, I have to share this delicious dinner we enjoyed the last two nights. This was another delicious meal from Thrive Foods (guess it’s time for an official review of this cookbook): Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

This is a a filling, veggie-packed, delicious salad! This was day 2, so the color of the beets had really covered everything, but it was pretty colorful the first night. This one took some time to make – with roasting of the garlic, lots of chopping of lots of veggies, and then roasting of the veggies. But oh wow, it’s good!

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  1. says

    This post was perfect timing. I always forget to actually plan out my training schedule for a race and I NEED to get on the ball for my upcoming marathon. Scheduling in long runs gets harder and harder the busier life gets. :) Happy Tuesday Trainer Heather! :)
    STUFT Mama recently posted…Good Decision, Bad DecisionMy Profile

    • says

      So glad it was the “kick in the pants” you needed. :) I’m sure with twin boys it is a lot more complicated scheduling long runs – my dogs don’t mind so much when I’m gone. :)

    • says

      I’m actually excited about trying this week’s TT, I’ll have plenty of time on Friday. Just need to find something around the house to stand in for a kettleball! :)


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