Running is something we all learn to do naturally. But it was never an instantaneous process— as infants, we started by crawling. Months later, we begin to walk. Once we were able to walk comfortably, we dared to run.

What would have happened if we tried to run before we walked? A lot of injuries, that’s what! Likewise, when you’re planning to run a marathon, or any distance you aren’t trained for, it is extremely important that you progressively work your way there. With that being said, here are three important points you should keep in mind when developing a long distance running training plan:

1. Customize Your Workouts

No two humans are the same, and no two training plans should be either. The mileage plan for your various runs depends completely on how many miles you can comfortably run right now. Simply following a generic training plan is not a good idea, because you risk running for longer periods of time or distances than your body is ready for, making you prone to injury. Make sure you follow a custom training plan that fits your body’s current state of cardio fitness.

2. Have Enough Rest Days, But Not Too Many

This is a formula that’s often very difficult to get right. If you have too many rest days, you can get lazy, slower, lose your cardio and generally fall behind schedule. However, if you don’t have enough rest days, you could fatigue your muscles, become injured and take yourself out of the equation for weeks, months or worst of all, permanently.

3. Keep Your Training Plan Dynamic

We all hate missing running days, but it happens to the best of us. However, when this does happen, the best thing to do is to minimize its impact on your training schedule. When you miss a day, the rest of your training schedule should dynamically change to account for it, since you cannot afford to compromise the base training of your running. This is both tedious and challenging to do by hand, however, there are apps that will automatically do this for you.

To accomplish these three run training goals, you should either consult a personal trainer or use a running training application like SportMe. SportMe uses its proprietary algorithm to schedule your progressive run training program incorporating the optimum number of rest days based on your running statistics and allowing for dynamic adjustments to the plan as we are all human and we understand that.

If you keep these three important points in mind, you will undoubtedly have a comprehensive training plan that will put you on goal in a healthy way for that next marathon or whatever distance you may seek to obtain. See you at the finish line!

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