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Maintenance Running Plan

Maintenance Running Plan – The Running Schedule After Half-Marathon

Many runners spend months training for an event like the half marathon or marathon. However, once the event has passed, they don’t know what to do with themselves. Because of this, it often leads to loss of motivation and lack of training. For others splitting up the season is an important part of their training plan.

So what do both of these things have in common?

Both scenarios require a break from structured training or some downtime. Doing so will help a person’s motivation return or allow adequate recovery between training cycles.

In this article, we look at how a maintenance running plan can help you hold fitness and keep your motivation up before your next event.

Maintenance Running Plan – A Complete Guide

A maintenance running plan is a schedule or period where the total training load is decreased by more than 50%. The reduced period of training lasts for two or more weeks. Intensity during this period is usually removed or limited, and mileage is reduced.

Although some maintenance plans incorporate some intense workouts, it’s not that common. The primary goal is recovery and to hold general fitness between events, or at times where you may not have the motivation to run.

Most maintenance running plans include:

– Multiple days off
– Short distance runs
– No speed work
– Cross-Training

The primary goal of a maintenance plan is to hold your fitness and prevent a rapid decline in form. That means continuing to run for three days a week (or less) but at a low intensity. It also may include some forms of cross-training 1-2 times a week as a variation.

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Running and cross-training a few times a week will be enough for most people to prevent loss in aerobic fitness. However, following this type of maintenance plan won’t hold your leg speed and anaerobic fitness for long.

A basic maintenance plan would look like this:

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 30 minutes recovery run
Wednesday – Cross-training or rest day
Thursday – 30 minutes recovery run
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – Cross-training or rest day
Sunday – 30 minutes recovery run

A running maintenance plan that includes workouts to hold leg speed would look similar to this:

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 30 minutes recovery run + 10 x 100m stride outs
Wednesday – Cross-training or rest day
Thursday – 10 x 200m or 400m repeats at 3k pace
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – Cross-training or rest day
Sunday – 30 minutes recovery run + 10 x 100m stride outs

Following the above schedule will help keep leg speed and some of your anaerobic fitness you have built up.

Maintenance Running Schedule After Half Marathon

Maintenance Running Schedule After Half Marathon

For many people that have trained and completed a half marathon, the weeks following the event are the hardest. Many runners lose motivation while looking for another challenge.

Following a maintenance running schedule after a half marathon can help you hold the fitness you have built up while giving the body and mind much-needed rest.

A typical maintenance running schedule after a half marathon can last anywhere between 4-6 weeks. Of course, this will depend on the gap between events and your build-up plan. But generally, the longer the race, the longer the maintenance plan will be.

A general maintenance running schedule after a half marathon will include lots of recovery and light running. During this period it is also wise to include cross-training into the plan. This is another way to hold your current fitness level if you are lacking motivation.

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However, if you want to be ready for another half marathon within 6-8 weeks after your previous race, you will need to continue to include speed work and distance runs for some time.

Below is a simple plan that can help you hold fitness between events but still allow time for physical and mental recovery.

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 20 minute tempo run
Wednesday – Cross-training or rest day
Thursday – Track workout of 400m to 3km repeats at 10k pace
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – Cross-training or rest day
Sunday – Long run 90 minutes

The above maintenance plan for a half marathon will help hold both your leg speed and aerobic fitness. This will allow you to be ready for an event at short notice, while also allow recovery and mental break from specific half marathon training.

5K Maintenance Running Plan

5K Maintenance Running Plan

Whether you have just completed a 5k event or even the couch to 5k program, you may be wondering what you should plan next. During this time you don’t want all your hard work to go to waste. So keeping fit through a 5k maintenance running plan can help you hold your fitness while you decide on your next goals. Preventing you from having to rebuild up your fitness after a long break, but still allowing a mental break from the rigors of training.
The key during this period is to continue to run 2-3 days per week and include some stride-outs. These stride-outs will help hold the leg speed you have developed from the 5k training you have been doing. Unlike half marathon maintenance, a 5k maintenance running plan is more focused on keeping leg speed than aerobic fitness.

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Below is a sample of a general 5k maintenance running plan:

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 30 minutes recovery run + 10 x 100m stride outs
Wednesday – Cross-training or rest day
Thursday – Cross-training or rest day
Friday – 30 minutes recovery run + 10 x 100m stride outs
Saturday – Cross-training or rest day
Sunday – Long run 45 minutes

The above program will generally hold you fitness for 6-8 weeks before you will start to see a decline in fitness. But by this time you should already be getting ready to prepare for your next goals.


Maintenance Running Plan After 10K

If you have been focusing on the 10k for some months and looking to talk a short break without losing all that hard-earned fitness, you can follow a maintenance running plan after a 10K like you would the 5k. The only change you should make is to increase the length of the long run. This is to help hold some of the aerobic fitness you have built.

A simple maintenance running plan after a 10k could look like this:

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 30 minutes recovery run + 10 x 100m stride outs
Wednesday – 20 minute tempo run
Thursday – Cross-training or rest day
Friday – 30 minutes recovery run + 10 x 100m stride outs
Saturday – Cross-training or rest day
Sunday – Long run 60 minutes

The only difference between this and a 5k plan is the inclusion of a tempo run and increased duration of the long run. Both these help to keep your aerobic fitness close to the same level for 6-8 weeks post 10k event.