How to Pick A Training Plan

How to pick a training plan.

Pick the training plan that’s right for you

Here are some important things to consider when picking your training plan.

1. Be honest with your goals

Many training plans are based on training for one event. If you have other goals along your journey be sure to keep them in mind. For example, wanting to run a fast 10K three months out from your half marathon in February may cause some changes to your earlier training, like focusing on speed work instead of just endurance.

2. Be realistic about your time commitment

If a plan has you running long runs on Saturday mornings, but that is when your son’s baseball games are, that might not be the plan for you. Starting your training further out leaves you more time to adjust for when “life happens.” Shorter plans are great for feeling the pressure and for those who find themselves losing interest after a period of time.

3. Build upon what you’re running right now

Find a training plan that matches where you are right now in your running. If a plan has more miles than you are ready for, you may be on the road to injury instead of training.

4. Check The Author

Look for a certified coach with experience in your goal distance. Don’t trust a random website with such an important goal (like running a marathon!). Look for a local group or club in your city, like Austin Runners Club.

5. General or personal plan?

Decide if you want to invest in a personal plan or do you just want to follow a general plan. A general plan may be great to start and then switch to a more personalized plan once you feel you are ready to take it to the next level.

6. Include cross training

Some plans are strictly running while others incorporate other activities like yoga, cycling, or weightlifting. Cross training can be great for building strength, reducing injuries, and for preventing burnout.

7. Rest days are a necessity

Don’t follow a plan that does not include recovery. Training for long distance running is a challenge and your body will be stronger if you give it the proper time to recover.

8. Be kind to yourself and allow change

Life happens. You miss a run because you’re sick, your sister comes to town, you went out for drinks with friends and only ran three miles instead of five. That’s fine! Just reset and focus on the next workout. Also if you pick a plan and don’t like it — drop it and get a new one.

An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 13

An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athletes themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.

Still Going

By: Robert Mange with Leslie and Andrea Leyton-Mange

I am 65 years old and for most of my adult life, up until about 5 years ago, I was a runner. I began running in 1976 after moving to the Washington, DC area for a job with the Federal government. Eventually, I had a 36 miles per week habit. I’ve completed 16 marathons, a dozen triathlons, and assorted other races of varying distances.   

On February 18, 2018, I completed the Austin Half Marathon with my daughter, finishing with a chip time of 4 hours and 18 minutes, which was certainly nothing spectacular… except for the fact that I have Parkinson’s Disease. 

Parkinson's Disease

Andrea enjoys a post-race meal with her family after completing the Austin Half Marathon with her father, Robert.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neuromuscular disorder that affects both brain and body. Typical symptoms can include tremors, slowness of movement, rigid muscles, trouble with balance, fatigue, and loss of mental sharpness (dementia), among other things. Over time, swallowing and other bodily functions are affected and there is no cure. Not everyone will display the same symptoms, but symptoms that are experienced will become more frequent and severe.

Prior to the half marathon, I didn’t (and still don’t) know of any other Parkinson’s Disease patients who attempted this distance and, when we spoke, neither had my neurologist. He said that he had never treated anyone at my fitness level so I should be confident. This time, I would be attempting my first long distance race while having a disease that dominated my life. So many things could go wrong. I was terrified. I only knew how to train for normal running distances while free from disease.

How do I train by walking, with the kind of effect I would need to build strength for the long haul? What do I do to substitute for long runs and speed work? I trained hard but could not tell if I was getting a training effect. I just walked for as long as I could and jogged for short spurts in between. Would it be enough? Would it be enough to enable me to take the nearly 70,000 steps to the finish?

Race Day – February 18, 2018

It was still dark when I awoke the morning of the race. I needed extra lighting to take the 10 different medications that I need to keep my symptoms at bay. My Parkinson’s Disease meds are generally effective for most of the day but by evening have completely worn off, so I wondered as I downed my morning pills how long they would keep me upright on that day. I wore a shirt signed by the members of my weekly Power for Parkinson’s (PFP) exercise class. They’re a courageous group of people who offered me encouragement and support as I trained. Before heading to the course, my daughter helped me attach my race bib. My tremors and coordination issues make it difficult to use something like safety pins on my own.  

Happy just to be alive at the start, we set off. I was tired after 3 miles. What went wrong? Did we start out too fast?  I was going to have to grit it out. Support on the sidelines helped. At around mile 11, encouragement came from about 30 young adults who formed a canopy over us, cheering us on. I walked and ran for the duration of the 13.1-mile course with my daughter beside me, supporting my efforts and guiding me to the finish. I was more tired than I had ever been before.

Crossing the finish line that day had special meaning to me because it showed me that I could still accomplish fitness goals in my life despite the challenges of a disease that seeks to rob me of my ability and strength. I’ll need them both when I try the Austin Half Marathon again next year.

Get to Know the Trail’s Restrooms

The Austin Trail Map with Restrooms & Water Fountains

As all runners know that just as important as having your running route planned, is also knowing where to go when its time to go. ? So, we have put together a map that shows you where to find restrooms and water fountains on Austin’s hike and bike trail. The map starts at Auditorium Shores, marked Mile 0 on the map. We hope that this map will come in handy the next time you are out enjoying Austin and nature calls!

Locate restrooms, mile markers, and water fountains using the map below. It is important to know that the city turns off the water the few times a year temperatures get near or below freezing.

A little backstory about “the Trail” for those who are not familiar: Austin is home to the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, otherwise known as the Trail. This completely connected 10-mile haven for runners, walkers, and cyclists resides in the heart of downtown Austin, TX.  According to Austin Parks and Recreation, 2.6 million visitors check out the Trail every year.

It is easy to say that the Trail is one of, if not the top running spot in Austin. The trail is full of local marathon, half marathon, 10Kers, 5Kers, runners and families enjoying running and outdoor fitness. You can event sometimes spot local celebrities getting their workout out. Race ambassador and Olympic Silver Medalist Leo Manzano can often be seen flying by on one of his weekly workouts.


Austin Marathon Map of Austin Town Lake Trail Restrooms Water Fountains