Most runners follow a seven-day training plan, often involving an early-week interval session, a midweek tempo run and a weekend long run, peppered with another one or two easy runs or cross-training sessions throughout. Scheduling your training this way makes sense for a lot of runners, since it allows you to plan your harder runs on the same days each week, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only effective training strategy. By extending your training “week” to 10 days, you can give yourself more flexibility in your schedule and allow for more recovery time between sessions.
Is a 10-day training plan right for you?
Like we said, one of the biggest benefits to adopting a 10-day training week is it gives you more time to fit all your essential workouts into your schedule. If you’re following a proper training plan, your schedule will likely include a tempo run, interval session, long run, easy runs and a couple of strength training sessions, which is a lot to cram into seven days for a busy runner who has other work, family and life commitments. Giving yourself another three days to fit all these essential elements in is not only more realistic for many people, but it may decrease your stress levels because you have more time to get everything done.
The other obvious benefit to an extended training week is more recovery time, and flexibility to adapt to how your body is feeling. For example, if you have a tempo run on the schedule for Wednesday, but you don’t feel like you’ve completely recovered from your interval session on Monday, you have space in your schedule to push that tempo run to another day. Additionally, if you have to miss a day of training because of another commitment, or because you’re sick, you have more room in your schedule to make up the missed time.
Put it into practice
Switching to a 10-day training cycle is likely going to feel strange at first, but it’ll only take a bit of time to get used to it. The key to success with this kind of training cycle is planning ahead, so you know what you’re doing when. And yes, you can still time your long run to fall on a weekend, if you schedule it appropriately. Here is an example of a 10-day training cycle:
Day 1: Easy run + strides
Day 2: Interval workout
Day 3: Cross training (bike, swim, pool run, etc) and strength training
Day 4: Stretching and mobility work
Day 5: Easy run + strides
Day 6: Tempo run
Day 7: Cross training and strength training
Day 8: Stretching and mobility work
Day 9: Long run
Day 10: Rest day
This is not to say that a seven-day training cycle doesn’t still work. For many runners, basing their training off the days of the week still makes the most sense, but if you find it difficult to fit everything into one week, or you’re not recovering well from your harder workouts, the 10-day training cycle might be a better option.