My 10K training plan (finally) and the end of my biceps as I know them

by Kim on April 12, 2013

I had such a hard time picking out a training plan for my 10K in May. I’m not sure if it was because there are too many options out there or because I wanted to stay in denial about the fact that I was in training.

At any rate, I finally buckled down and made a decision the other day. My criteria were pretty basic:

–3-4 days of running a week, max.

–Typical mix of easy runs, long runs, and speed training. Cross training and strength a plus.

–Guided speed training work, and enough to put me on track to run the 10K in 50 minutes. (Which is fast for me, I think, but I’ve never actually run a 10K before. Insta-PR!)

–Free (haha).

I’ve heard lots of people vouch for Runner’s World’s plans, but after looking through them, I was still feeling pretty meh.

Then, I noticed RW’s Smart Coach program. I’ve never had a “customized” training plan before, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

You start by entering some info about your current speed, your race distance, an “intensity level” you want to work with, and the dates your plan should start and end (including whether the race is on a Saturday or Sunday).

Smart Coach

And Smart Coach spits out something like this:

10K Training Plan

What I love about it:

–It starts and ends on the exact days I want it to. I don’t have to adjust it so my long run days are on Saturday instead of Sunday for a Saturday race, or feel like I’m “behind” if I try to cut into a 10-week program.

–It’s specific. This is the Type A in me. I get tired of trying to run at “moderate” vs. “max” effort, or, say, an 8/10 intensity level. If I feel like I can push myself harder than the plan indicates, I will, but at least I’ll have that baseline speed in mind to assure me that I’m on track.

–It includes target speeds for ALL runs, even easy runs. I know I’m not supposed to worry about speed on easy runs, but that doesn’t mean I should drag my butt on the ground either. I probably won’t even go as slow as the plan says, actually, but it’s nice to know that I can if I need to.

What I don’t love:

–No strength or X-training, but I can easily work those in on my own. In fact, it’s kind of freeing: like whatever I do in those areas is just a bonus.

–It didn’t ask me for my goal time, just a goal “intensity level.” What does that even mean?? Most runners just have a number in mind. My plan happened to put me at a goal race time just under 50 minutes, which is what I wanted anyway, but it wasn’t because I specified that anywhere.


I decided to make the plan my computer background this time, instead of posting it on the fridge.

I figure I stare at my comp way more than my fridge, and I don’t really care about X’ing off runs this time around. (I’m a perfectionist and can’t stand having any X-free BLEMISHES on my plan, should I miss a run or two. Which I will.)

So: got the race, got the plan—here we go!

In other news, Mason took his first unassisted little steps today! It’s nice that he’ll be walking in time for summer. But I wonder if my biceps will suffer? Hmm. (Jk.)

He actually hit one other critical milestone today too: Baby’s First Blanket Fort.

20130411_145431The term “fort” used very, very loosely.

He got super giddy crawling back and forth through the “tunnel,” but of course, I had zero success getting any pictures of him doing it. The main problem was that he kept randomly standing up in the middle of the fort, severely compromising the effectiveness of the pillow stakes.

P.S. The book tented on the couch? It’s this. And it’s SO GOOD so far. Light, funny, and very well written. (I usually put up with crappy writing to get my guilty pleasure “beach read” fix, but this time I actually don’t have to!)

Plot summary: Basically, imagine you were a college freshman again, but without the crippling insecurities of being a college freshman and knowing everything you know now. You’d own the place, right??

Coupla Notes

Endure, a company that makes awesome running jewelry, is now making awesome running apparel too.

AND…they sent me some to give to you! Stop by the blog Monday for a chance to win a tank top of your choice!

Endure Run TankI love the roadrunner. Mee-meep!

–Lindsey at Run, Stretch, Repeat featured me on her blog today! (Thanks, Lindsey!!) Stop by and check it out.

Have you ever tried Smart Coach or a customized training plan?

Are you for or against X’ing off runs on training plans?

If you could be a college freshman again, knowing what you know now, what’s something you’d do differently?

I’d consider more majors (I always feel like I settled too quickly), join a sorority (this sounds dumb, but I didn’t really know anything about them at the time!), take easier classes (I did NOT need physics with lab, and “being curious about it” was not, in fact, a good reason to sabotage my GPA) and not eat the way I did to gain the freshman 15 (and the senior 10).

Ha. Live & learn.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda @runtothefinish April 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

I tend to make my own plans because I get wishy washy about others, BUT that being said I love that RW uses intensity instead of pace. I think that helps a lot of people keep from getting hurt
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Katie April 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Good luck with your training! I’ve kind of just made my own plans based on other plans I’ve seen – a mush of things.

Cute tanks!


Kim April 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Thanks Katie! Yeah, mine are never modification-free. :) I’ve already changed BOTH of the 2 runs I’ve hit so far–ha!!

Mushing is good, esp. for us moms, whose schedules are not our own. :)


Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome April 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I love that Smart Coach running plan! I’ve always just searched and found one that fit what I wanted to do for the most part but next time I’ll have to use this! Thanks for sharing!
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Kim April 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I’ll let you know if it actually works! :)


Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness April 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Wow, I haven’t heard of Smart Coach but I like the customizable-ness of it. No idea of goal intensity? Like “my goal is to totally slack and run at a 2/10 level?” Weird. I would imagine it would ask you for goal time. I use Runkeepers race plans and you can “X” ’em off as you go, you just click on the calender and mark completed. I like it okay, but it’s a bit inflexible and I just noticed that it ends my marathon training plan a week and a half before my actual race. I think next time, I’ll give Smart Coach a shot.

Good luck on your 10k!
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Kim April 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Exactly!! It was like, “do you want to work HARD or VERY HARD?” Ummm…?

I couldn’t find the option for “do as little work as possible while easily hitting my goal time.” :)

I haven’t heard of Runkeepers, but sounds cool! I’ll have to check that out.


Nicole @ FruitnFitness April 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

I hadn’t heard of Smart Coach, it sounds like an interesting way to customize your running plan. I have been really bad about following any sort of schedule since my first half marathon and with another one 3 weeks away now I need to get back on the scheduled workouts path.
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Kim April 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I like to follow rules, and I get really inconsistent and lazy about running without a plan. :) But I don’t think they’re 100% necessary if you’re comfortable with the general training process. Good luck with your next half!!


Kristin @ A Mom on the Run April 12, 2013 at 9:58 am

Hi there, I found you from Lindsey at Run, Stretch, Repeat!

I’ve never even heard of Smart Coach – definitely going to have to check it out!

I was all for X’ing off my runs, but I switched to using a google calendar, so no more X’ing for this girl. Sad!

If I was a college freshman again, I’d love to know that my boyfriend then was going to turn out to be a total pain and not to waste so much time dealing with that drama. Live and learn!
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Kim April 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Ooohh that’s a seriously good one!

I don’t think Smart Coach is perfect by any means, but it’s a cool concept and I’m game to try it out. I’ll probably end up tweaking this plan a lot–but that’s pretty much a given with any plan, for me. :)

I use Google calendar constantly, but hadn’t really thought to use it for a whole training plan. Is it pretty tedious entering everything in?

Thanks for stopping by Kristin!


PickyRunner April 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

I didn’t know runners world had something like that! That’s awesome!! My coach pretty much does all that for me already but once I’m on my own, I’ll probably need to start looking into plans to follow if I want to continue “racing”. As a college junior, I even look back and wonder what things would be like if I had done x. I try not to, but I definitely wish I had chosen a different major or picked a school with more choices. But I also make sure to be happy with where I am and know that if I want something bad enough, I will go after it.
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Kim April 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

I guess it’s inevitable to look back and wonder. Dang hindsight!

I wish I had a coach to figure all this out for me! I’m sure you’d do great planning your own training if you kept racing after college. In fact, you should coach the rest of us. :)

Maybe the little details don’t matter that much in the end, since I’m not in track or competing for any important purposes, but I hate the feeling that I could be doing something BETTER if I only knew.


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