QT: When Should You Start Training for Your Next Race (Best Of-ish)

This post/episode originally published in January of 2017. The post/show notes are simply copy/pasted from the original post, but the podcast audio is a new take on the same subject.

When should you start training for your next big race?

When do you start training for a race

16 Weeks Out?

The general rule of thumb seems to be that training for a race starts about 16 weeks before the day of the race.

That kind of time frame allows you to build up your mileage gradually (and safely) so you’ll be ready on race day.

I disagree.

The training you do BEFORE you officially start training for your race matters a whole hell of a lot more than many runners seem to realize.

If your goal is simply to make it to the finish line of your race, then 16 weeks is fine.

But if you have a more ambitious goal, you can increase your chances of success by doing some serious training before you start training seriously.


What are You Building Upon?

The reason your pre-training training is so important is that it creates the base upon which you will build your fitness for the race.

I’m pretty sure the #DizRunners get sick of me saying it all the time, but the most important thing you can do to improve as a runner is to solidify your base.

I don’t care what your goals are. I don’t care how fast or slow you are or how far you may or may not run.

The Rock Says It Doesn't Matter

If you want to improve, you need to have a solid base because that is what any and all improvements are built upon.

As a coach, obviously, I do everything I can to help my athletes be successful. But when a runner hires me to help him or her prepare for a race that is 16 weeks away and they haven’t done much running in the past few months, what am I supposed to do?

Push hard from the start? Not unless the goal is to get injured before the race.

Spend 8-12 weeks rebuilding a weak base? Maybe, but the odds of them being successful in their race that is now less than two months away aren’t very good.

In this situation, my hands as a coach are pretty much tied. Whatever route I choose to advise the individual to take, odds are against his or her success.

Why? Because of a severe lack of pre-training training.

When Should You Start Training?

I know what you’re thinking right now.

“Diz. For the love of everything holy, when should I start training?”

That’s a fair question.

Here’s my unfair answer: once you start, don’t stop.

What did you say

Now, I’m not suggesting for a minute that you live your life in a constant state of marathon preparation.

What I am saying, however, is that if you are serious about achieving your running goals you need to be consistently (and intelligently) training year round.

Part of consistent and intelligent training means that there will absolutely be ebbs and flows to your training. And during certain periods, it’s fine to cut back dramatically on the amount of running you’re doing.

Just make the running you’re doing consistent, as that is the best way to maintain your base so that when you’re ready to build your fitness you actually have something to build upon.

I’m Here to Help

How can I help you?

Obviously if you’re looking for a coach, reach out to me and let’s see if we would be a good fit for each other.

But if working with a coach isn’t in the budget, that doesn’t mean I’m not still willing to help.

You can also drop me a note and I’ll be happy to offer some suggestions based on your specific situation.

And if you’re situation requires a bit more than a simple email or two, schedule a consulting call where we can jump on the phone and work through your situation together.

Or join us over in the Facebook group and ask a question there. There are other coaches in the group that may be able to help, plus there may be some opportunities for free coaching aka Ask Me Anything type of live streams coming in the future. #spoileralert

The moral of the story: I’m here to help. Just reach out, and we can figure out the rest of the details later.

Did you know that you should start training for your next race before your training officially starts? #runchat #marathontraining Share on X

When Do You Start Training for a Race?

Want to Support the Continued Growth & Production of the Show?

Check out the support page for ideas and suggestions of ways you can help me grow the show. And remember, not all support involves money. Some of the best ways you can show your support are 100% free.

Subscribe to the Show

Never miss another episode of the Diz Runs With podcast by subscribing to the show, and for my fellow Apple fans out there, it’s never been easier now that the podcast app is native on the new operating system. iPhone/iPod/iPad users click here. Android users click here. SoundCloud users click here.

Please Give Me Some Feedback!

Take the 6 question listener survey to help me shape the future of this podcast.

Register for a Free Race Training Plan

Every month, I’m giving away a FREE training plan for the race of your choice. For details/information, and to sign up, just click here.

Join The Tribe!

There’s always room for more members of the tribe! Both the Facebook group and the email group provide opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. The Facebook group is still small, but it is a great way to connect with fellow runners and foster community amongst like-minded individuals. The email group is THE way to stay up to date about future guests on the show, as well as getting some other freebies and offers that aren’t available to anyone else. If you’ve got questions about either/both, just let me know!


Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This simply means that if you decide to make a purchase using one of the links, I get paid a small commission at no extra expense to you.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *