A few examples:
Running your first 26.2 (full marathon)
So your goal is to run your first full marathon. Start out by choosing your 5 month training plan. Compare your training schedule with local races and sign up for some races along the way to look forward to. Maybe sign up for a 5k the first month, a 10k the second month, a 1/2 marathon the 3-4 month (depending on your schedule) ect. Give yourself monthly races to look forward to that will all propel you forward toward achieving your ultimate goal of running a marathon.
Running a race PR
Which distance are you hoping to PR? A 5K? 1/2 marathon? (Adapted from Active.com). Keep track of your runs and compare your monthly pace/distance/time spent running.
#1 Start by studying your stride, by lengthening your stride and running with proper running form you will start running faster with greater ease.
#2 Adding a substantial distance run, you should run a long run once a week that is 20-50% longer than your average weekly runs. Long runs boost your endurance, develop more more extensive capillary network in your legs, increase the number of energy-producing mitochondria in your cells, and make it easier to run faster, for longer. Be conservative and start by adding 1 to 2 miles to your longest run every 2 to 3 weeks. This will help you not only increase your long run, but also your weekly mileage.
#3 After a week or two of running strides, you're ready to start an introductory workout like a fartlek (don't laugh—it's Swedish for "speed play"). Fartleks can be as unstructured as you'd like—run hard between telephone poles, and rest in between. These workouts are easier to understand when they're more formal. A more structured Fartlek would be 1 minute hard and fast intervals followed by a 2 minute jog and repeat 6 times. Incorporate these in every other week and slowly build up to doing this once a week.
I finished week one (Jan 1-7) completing my goal of running 35-40 miles a week. I finished the week with 36.6 miles. I hope to do this next week (Jan 8-14) and then drop it down to 30-35 miles week 3 (Jan 15-22). Miami Marathon is fast approaching and I am hoping to set myself up for success.
How did your first week go? Are you on track for achieving your 2015 goals? Have you set yourself up for success by having a plan?