Goldilocks Training

Goldilocks Training – A Complete Guide To ‘Just Right’ Training Plan

Struggling to improve your running results? Maybe following the Goldilocks training method will help your running take that next step. In this article we talk about what it means to train ‘Just Right’.

Goldilocks Training – What It Means?

If you do not follow a method like the Goldilocks Training Principle and follow a proper progression, intensity, and volume. You will start to lose fitness through negative adaptation.

Every time you finish a long run or a hard interval session, you will subject the body to fatigue and muscle damage. When you do not follow the right training principles your fitness level will suffer as a consequence.

Allowing adequate recovery to your training will provide a super-compensation effect. This effect, once the appropriate recovery is applied, will make you a faster and stronger runner.

Look back over your training for the past year, have you adhered to the Goldilocks Training Theory? Have you been running too little or too much? Have you applied the correct amount of recovery time between workouts?

Many runners do not train or run hard enough, so their fitness gain is minimal. Others fall into the category of doing too much, too fast, too soon.

The level of fatigue each runner can handle varies widely. Finding the ‘Just Right’ balance is vital if you want to see a progression in your running.

Using analytical tools such as training peaks or hiring a running coach can help you find the correct amount of training you should do.

What Is The Goldilocks Theory?

The Goldilocks theory derives from the story – Goldilocks And The Three Bears.

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Remember that Goldilock tasted three different bowls of porridge. She ended up favoring the one that was neither too hot nor too cold.

Choosing the one that was at the right temperature adheres to the concept of ‘Just Right’.

The Goldilocks theory applies to many things in life, including that of running and training.

Each person responds differently to weekly volume, workout intensity, running surface, and so on. So it is about finding the combination that works right for each individual.

Some runners recover fast from long runs but struggle with recovery after a hard interval. For others, they may experience soreness after a long run, while some feel no lasting effects. It all depends on your physiological profile and background as a runner.

So running training is a very individual process. At SportCoaching we follow the Goldilocks training theory and base our running training plans on each individual. We find the correct balance of volume, recovery, and intensity. We then structure this into an ATP (annual training plan) to help see maximum benefits from your training.

Goldilocks Running

Goldilocks ‘Just Right’

As a runner, we all want to train ‘Just Right’ – The right amount of intensity and the right volume of mileage. The Goldilocks Just Right principle is about applying these basic principles into your running training.

Knowing the right amount of running volume and intensity can be difficult for many to work out. Running too much or too fast will end up getting you hurt or over-trained. Running too little or too slow, and your shape will plateau.

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Knowing your baseline workload (total volume of workload) is vital in your running preparation. It should be a combination of mileage and intensity that you are comfortable doing each week. For example, a runner may be doing:

– 50 kilometers per week in 4 runs, with a 15 kilometer long run
– 1 tempo run of 20 minutes
– Two core and strength workouts

If this is your baseline, it should feel comfortable and provide just enough fatigue to the body. It should never feel like you are on the verge of an injury.

This isn’t a long term training structure though. To get the right amount of stimulus you will need to increase your workload through each training cycle. At the beginning of your running training plan, you will need to gradually increase the mileage and add some faster workouts later on.

The training example we showed you would mean that we would increase the volume each week by 10-15% over a period of 4-8 weeks. Once faster workouts are applied we would increase the repetitions or speed instead of the volume.

The Goldilocks Rule To Maintain Motivation

To maintain motivation, the Goldilocks rule is to experience peak motivation without working too easy or too hard, just right.

Even though runners love challenges, it is important to keep it within the optimal zone of difficulty. For example, imagine if you are running a 5 km event in 25 minutes. You position yourself at the font of the field in hope to run faster. You will quickly get demotivated as the faster runners leave you for dust.

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Maybe you have never run past 5 km in your life and now decided to enter an ultra-marathon event, your motivation will quickly disappear.

It is important to keep motivation by setting goals that are optimal and within reach. Setting goals that are significantly below your current fitness often gets boring. Goals that are significantly beyond your current running fitness can often become discouraging.

The Goldilocks rule of motivation is to set goals that are right on the border of success and failure. The brain will thank you in the long run.

Goldilocks Running Plan – Getting Started

If you are looking for a Goldilock’s running plan, SportCoaching provides multiple individual-based plans. These plans are based on the distance, level, and event you are training for.
The Goldilocks training theory is a strategy we use when building our running plans. Each training plan is individually crafted around your lifestyle and goals. We then determine your baseline workload, so we are able to increase your mileage safely. Keep you injury free and improving your running.

Each of these running plans are built towards your goal in mind. Do you want to run faster over 5 km? Improve your marathon time? Or set a personal best over 10 km?

By using this method we find the right amount of volume and intensity to propel your running to a new level.


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