Getting ready to run an endurance race of any kind is not something to be taken for granted. Whether your goal is to run a 5k, a full marathon or anything in-between, it is important to show up at the starting line ready – both physically and mentally – on race day.

And the way to do that is to create and follow a plan so you have enough time between your start training date and race day to incrementally prepare.

Selecting a Plan:
If you are new to endurance running, it is hard to know where to begin training. Fortunately, there are several training plans already available to guide you. The problem can be deciding on which plan is best for you. With your body condition, schedule and goals in mind, here are 7 things to consider:

1. Choose a plan that starts at your current fitness level. It doesn’t do you any good if a plan assumes you are at one fitness level when in fact you are several levels below.
2. Have your plan in line with how much time you have to devote to training. Look at all the things important in your life, like work, family and whatever else you have to do on a regular basis. You want a plan that can fit your training into the time you have available to devote to it.
3. Incorporate different routines into your training. A good plan should not only include running, but also sessions of strength training, cross training, and of course, rest.
4. Look at the credentials of the plan’s author. In the world of the Internet, anyone can create anything. The author of your plan should be a certified personal trainer, or have a degree in exercise physiology or kinesiology to ensure they know how to train for endurance running
5. Select a plan that gives you the time to train. A plan for a full marathon should last 16 to 20 weeks. One that says it can get you in shape in 8 weeks can put you at risk for injury regardless of your fitness level. There is no “quick” way to train for long distance endurance running.
6. Look for success of others having used the same plan. If the plan is one you have to buy, read the reviews or testimonials posted of others that have purchased and actually used it.
7. Finally, a viable training plan should progressively scale up your training, thus reducing the risk of an injury and set-back in training.

Be realistic in your training goals and expect a setback or two while training; it usually happens! The important part is that you can bounce back from them mentally, physically and get back on schedule. That is one reason why it is better to have too much time to train then not enough!