All of the training plans on this site are cyclical plans, in that they are comprised of a block of training of three to four weeks that you can repeat and tweak as you see fit. Regardless of your current ability or ambitions, the plans were designed to be specific to a particular target time to give runners the best possible chance of achieving their goals.
One question we get asked quite frequently is about when to make that PB attempt. Should it be midway through a training block? How many cycles of the plan should be carried out before attempting it? Many of the answers to these questions are down to personal choice; much like tapering, one size doesn’t fit all.
So with that in mind, we’ve added some recommendations to some of the FAQs below:
How may cycles of the training plan do I need to do?
As a generic recommendation I’d suggest 2-3 cycles of the plan but it really depends how the sessions go and what your starting point was. As the training plan sessions target your required race pace, if you find that you are completing the sessions and meeting the target pace then you are ready to make a PB attempt.
If it’s a struggle and you are not quite there then you should continue with the plan for as long as you need until you are completing the speed sessions at the target race pace.
The training plans are incremental so they allow you to progress as you get faster, but likewise, if you feel you are not ready for a particular plan then you can always take a step back and pick up a slightly slower plan until you are ready.
At Which Point in the Training Plan should I make a pb attempt?
If, after a couple of cycles of the training plan, you are hitting your target race pace for the speed work sessions then you’re probably ready for a race.
My recommendation would be to work backwards. Most running races take place over the weekend, certainly if you are targetting a local ParkRun then Saturday is the day to count back from. In an ideal world you would look to do 2-3 cycles of the plan and then plan your PB attempt at the end of week 2 or 3 in the plan so that it comes before your recovery week.
Can I Skip Between Training Plans?
This isn’t recommended. The plans are progressive so you should be able to move quite nicely between them, e.g., 22 minute 5k to 20 minute 5k.
Obviously if you start a training plan and it’s way too easy or too difficult then use common sense and pick one that is suited to your current ability.
Can I Follow a 5k and a 10k Training Plan at the Same Time?
If you are fairly new to running then following any of the plans on the site will probably help improve your race times against all the distances assuming the stamina and base fitness is there. After all, just becuase you are training for a 5k it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t run 10k races any more, and vice-versa.
However, if you are at a more advanced level, e.g., around 18 minutes for a 5k or 38 minutes for a 10k then I would advise against this. To achieve times that would take your age-graded ability from being a good ‘local’ standard to regional or even national stanadard then it requires focussed, structured training targetted at your designated race pace for the required distance.
Calculate your age-graded performance level using our age grade calculator.