What exactly do I get with Running Wizard?

You get a schedule for the event of your choice along with the transitional and recovery schedules to take you to your next training cycle. The schedules provided are for 1500m, 5k, 10k, 12K, half-marathon or marathon and can be any duration between 12-24 weeks. Your schedule for that period provides daily workouts. A comprehensive explanation is provided with each workout so that you know what you are doing and why you are doing it, how hard to go and what common mistakes to avoid. The schedule is divided into five training phases of approximately a month or so, each one progressing in intensity, and building on the previous phase. Pace times are recommended for those who like to measure their runs. If you are more of a free spirit you can choose to ignore them and just go on time and RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion). Heart-rate suggestions are also given according to your age and fitness level. Along with a training log Running Wizard also provides Daily Recovery Indicators that we strongly recommend you fill in. These will give you feedback to determine whether you are training too hard and allow you to quickly adjust before you damage your condition.

Is a 24 week program better than a 12 week program?

Yes. You will get fitter with the longer program, progress safely and gradually, and will potentially race faster. This is because it takes time for your body to adapt to training stresses. We realize that many runners are not prepared to make a 6 month commitment and so have provided shorter programs to optimize your training for the time you have and still keep it in a sound balance. For a marathon, especially for newcomers, make it as close to 24 weeks as possible.

I'm a recreational runner and can only dedicate 3 days a week, 5 days max, for running. Would this program still work for me?

We have adapted this program for all runners, even the busy ones who have limited time to dedicate to their training. You can opt for 4, 5 or 6 days-a-week training schedules. If you need to miss days we have provided Priority Numbers to the weekly workouts so that you can easily choose which one to skip and still get the most from your schedule. Keep in mind that the more often you run the better but if you have limited time to dedicate to running Running Wizard gives you the best possible result.

I'm interested but I can't possibly run 100-miles-a-week in training which I believe is signature of Lydiard training. Can I modify the schedule?

You won't have to - Running Wizard will modify your schedule to fit the timeframe you have between now and your event, the number of days you have to dedicate to training, your current pace and your level of fitness. While we give guidelines, the quantity of running is up to you. What's more, you won't be asked to do 100-mile weeks unless it is completely appropriate at your stage of progress. This is one of the most common misconceptions about Lydiard training. Running Wizard pitches the training to fit you which is what makes these online schedules unique.

Isn't this all slow running? I want to train fast so that I can race fast.

No, it is not. Even base training is comfortably fast. Workouts in the later stages of the schedules require you to run very fast at times. The beauty of this training is that your schedule gradually progresses you up the pace ladder so that you gain both endurance and speed in combination. Not only will you be able to race a faster pace than previously but you will also be able to sustain it for the duration of your event.

What if I get injured? Can I get a refund?

No. To guard against that happening, record your Daily Recovery Indicators. There is a lot of research behind these that make them your best insurance against injury and illness. Running Wizard programs are carefully written to minimize your risk of injury. If you do not follow the training guidelines nor heed the signals of your own body by doing the Daily Recovery Indicators consider your injury time an important lesson in learning the Lydiard Principles of Feeling-based Training/Response-Regulated Recovery. Whether you learn the hard way or the easy way each runner has to find how to make their training effective rather than defective.

I love to race. I don't want to train for 24 weeks for just one race. Can I race often?

You can occasionally substitute certain workouts (Out & Back Runs, Progress Calibration Runs and Time trials) for races as long as you use those races within the pacing guidelines of your schedule i.e. use the races as training so that you do not interrupt the flow of your schedule. But do not expect to PR in training races (although we have seen many PRs set during the course of completing Running Wizard program). If you have never specifically peaked for a race before the deferred gratification is well worth it. It will take your racing to a whole new level. Once you have established a good base you will be able to sustain a peak for quite a period and could race well for an entire season. For this use the Race-week / Non-Race-week schedule to ride the peak once you have reached it.

My target race is a 20K and I can't see a schedule for that distance. What do I do?

If your race is of some other distance choose the schedule closest in distance to it. For a 20K select the half-marathon schedule.

The Daily Recovery Indicators require that I weigh myself. I have a tendency towards anorexia and the thought of weighing myself terrifies me. Will Recovery Indicators still work if I leave out the weight part?

No, you need the three factors for Running Wizard to calculate your recovery score and give you the recommendation for your day's training. If it is too stressful for you to stand on a scale and get that valuable feedback simply put in your ideal weight every day (it must be the same) and let the computer make its calculation based on the other two factors. It will not be as accurate but will still be helpful.

I have been an ultra-runner for years. I am interested in getting faster but do not need to go through all that base training. Can I just get the fast part?

The shortened schedules of Plan B have been designed just for a runner like you as they emphasize the later/quicker phases of the training pyramid. Choose a race 12 - 20 weeks away and opt for Plan B in your selections.

I am thinking about giving this to my high school son. I personally feel running 2-hours for a high school kid is too much. But the pace for 60-minute program seems way too easy for him.

The whole premise of Lydiard training model is based on building stamina by doing the distance. For that, it is better to go slower and further than trying to cram by running harder/faster. If your high school son can handle 90-minutes at slower pace, it is better to do so than trying to run 60-minutes faster. It is not a matter of running 120-minutes slower vs. 60-minutes faster. If your son can only handle 60-minutes, that means his aerobic base is not as adequate as he would want. Often younger runners prefer running fast all the time and fear running slower, thinking this will make them slow. On the contrary, in the long run their ability to sustain their speed is enhanced by recruiting muscle fibers at the slower paces.

I am used to doing more than this schedule has in it. Can I add workouts?

Yes, you may add a conversational second run/jog/cycle/aqua-jog of 3 -7 miles (or time equivalent) in addition to and at the opposite end of the day to your daily workout. Do not add any other type of workout than easy aerobic exercise or you could very easily defeat the entire plan. Generally the more miles the better but do keep an eye on your Daily Recovery Indicators so that you don't go over the edge. Also pay attention to the rhythm of the schedule and do not use your second run to make every day look the same in mileage or effort. The weekly ebb and flow of running intensity and volume are designed to prompt the natural training cycle of stimulus/recovery to give you the biggest gains.

I improved my 10k time by a minute during the course of Running Wizard 24-week program. Should I adjust my training pace according to my new PR?

No. The improvement is built-in within the entire program. If you look carefully, you will see a steady increase/improvement with the pace throughout Running Wizard program. If done correctly, the improvement is expected and it should come naturally. There is no need for adjustment on your part.

My projected marathon time is quite a bit faster than my actual marathon time if I plug in my 5k time. Which time should I plug in?

Our predicted/projected times are based on VO2Max. In other words, it shows your potential performance. It is only a guideline based on averages. The times of your past performances may be more a reflection of gaps in your training, or poor racing conditions rather than your ability. For some people, in the marathon, their legs give in much earlier than their potential. On the other hand, your 5k time may not be a true reflection of your potential if you had not sharpened for the race. Because your actual marathon time is quite a bit slower than your predicted time, it is a good indication that you have speed but lack stamina. Go with the time which gives you the higher VO2 Max estimate, in this case your 5K time.

How does the schedule fit into a yearly plan?

Ideally you go through the cycle twice in a year. Depending on your goal races and the racing season one cycle might be considerably longer than the other, especially if you plan to hit your peak and then go onto a Race-Week / Non-Race-Week schedule. Once you are in peak shape you can race your heart out for a period until your "base runs out". Ideally you would start your base at the beginning of winter when the conditions are much more suited to slower running and thus hit late spring in great racing shape. Once your peak starts to dissipate (and you will know it) then it is time to take a break. If you have peaked for a marathon or half marathon then a recovery period is mandatory. A break of some sort completes your season after which it is time to get back on a program starting at base training once again. If you are a busy racer you may decide to take more than 2 cycles. There are a variety of possible yearly combinations to suit your particular seasons. Here are a few suggestions:

  • 20-weeks / 16-weeks / 16-weeks
  • 24-weeks followed by 8-weeks of races (using race-week/non-race-week continuation schedule) / 12-weeks for indoor racing
  • For high school or college runners: 24-weeks (for outdoor track) / 16-weeks (for cross country) / 12-weeks (for indoor track).

We will provide sample yearly plan on this website to guide you through "How to Set Up Your Yearly Training Plan".

The paces look really slow, much slower than I am used to. How come?

The training paces are deliberately conservative. However there is quite a spread within the recommended guidelines so you may choose to often run at the top end of the suggested paces. Remember they are just guidelines and we want you to run at the pace that works for you. You are the arbiter of the workout so go by feel rather than by using the watch to meet a number on a piece of paper. If you are within the guidelines for what the workout is designed to effect physiologically then that is what matters. Remember long runs are for endurance. Endurance takes place at all AEROBIC levels. The hallmark of aerobic running is that IT IS OXYGENATING AND GENERALLY FEELS GOOD especially as you progress into the run. If you pace your aerobic runs so that at the end of the run you feel better than when you started then you will have gotten great benefit from it.

If you are like many keen overachievers you may find great benefit in making your aerobic runs easier than you have been running. This takes the pressure off, makes your runs more enjoyable, gives you better recovery and in the later phases will enable you to train with greater amplitude (hard days hard/easy days easy). Quicker paces are specifically developed with Out & Back Runs and later Progress Calibration Runs. Trust the process and resist extrapolating an end result from your training times. They are just pieces of the puzzle and are not accurate predictors of your final race time until you near the coordination phase of training.

Another consideration is that your races and thus your estimated VO2 Max may not be an accurate representation of your ability. If this is the case the training paces may well be too slow for you. Again you can solve this easily by going by feel. If you can comfortably run faster then run faster. Alternatively you can put in a faster race time and see if the pace charts make more sense. A warning though: make sure that your compass is always set to reach your final goal rather than to satisfy the ego in any one workout. Overreaching is a sure way to disaster.