When designing the four levels of training programs, I created plans that would differ in total workload by about 15% each as you move from Beginner to Recreational to Advanced to Competitor.
In measuring the total workload, I looked at the following:
- Total Days per week
- Run/Walk Ratios
- Total Suggested Running Mileage
- Total Time Suggested Cross Training per week
- Total Time All Activities per week
- Progression of mileage
- Progression of workouts
- Types of Intensity workouts
- Types of Pace Specific workouts
- Intensity levels of certain workouts
At each level, there are key workouts that form the framework of the overall training plan. Also, there are assumptions made about the runners at each level based on experience. My hope is that each level will develop its own personality. There is no hierarchy. One level does not “outrank” another, they are just approaching the training plan from a different perspective.
Everyone is free to take a peek at the various workouts at the different levels. To do that, you will need to go to your survey answers and in Section 1 under I would describe myself as: choose a different level. Submit the survey and you can scroll through the workouts. Just remember to return to your survey answers and re-select your level after you’re done peeking at the others.
Hopefully your curiosity will be satisfied and you will quickly find that you chose the right level. I really encourage everyone to find a level that seems appropriate and remain there for all the workouts. In the first few weeks of the training plan, there will be some who will bounce back and forth between a couple levels. “Fence-sitting” is OK for the first 3-4 weeks, but once we move toward the middle of the program (weeks 6-7), it will be important to stay with one level for all the workouts until the goal half-marathon or marathon.
Can you switch levels for different goal events? Absolutely! For example, you can try out the Advanced Level for a half-marathon and then do the Recreational Level as you move up to the marathon, or vice-versa. However, a 2-Level jump is not encouraged at any time.