Where do you start when you are planning training? Do you start from where you are and work to where you want to be? Or, do you start with where you want to be and then work backwards to where you are at now?
Might I suggest the later? The ultimate objective is a certain speed/velocity over a certain distance. Sub 15 minute 5k – 2:59:59/ per kilometre over 5 kilometres of running. 3 hr marathon – 4:17 per kilometre over 42.2 kilometres of running.
So let’s take the marathon example a bit further – now we know where we want to get to – we must find out where we are now. This doesn’t mean you go out and race a marathon to figure this out – and in truth, this is just one aspect to look at – we need to look at, for example, 5km speed, current general fitness, injuries, fueling, volume of training, etc.
Once we get a sense of where we are at now, we can try and fill in the gap to get us to the goal outcome. For example, if a runner is only able to train at a very low volume before they get injured – we need to strengthen this runner so that they can handle more training volume. Or, perhaps this runner has great endurance but only has a 5km personal best of 20:45. A 20:45 5k runner can’t run a 3hr marathon (that 5km pace is just too close to goal marathon pace).
Lastly, when you are looking to make improvements – focus on things that will make a big difference! Consistency and overall running volume – major difference. Supplementation and ice bath – minor difference.
So yeah, what is your goal pace at a certain distance? Where are you at now? What are you going to do to bridge the gap?