Basic Types of Runners

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The 3 groups identified in these programs are Level I, Level II, and Level III. Although each program will specify in greater detail the recommended running background, here are the general characteristics of each group:

Level I - Low mileage runners. This means that you:

  • have been running consistently (2-5 times a week) for less than 6 months- a true beginner.
  • are recently coming off an injury and do not want to experience a recurring one.
  • taken an extended layoff of longer than 4-6 weeks and need to slowly build up your stamina.
  • given your current life situation, can healthfully balance 3-4 days of low mileage along with very little active recovery.

Level II - Mid-mileage runners. This means that you:

  • have been running consistently longer than 6 months and are content with finishing your target race (meaning there's no need to put in the higher mileage to set a personal best).
  • are continuing a successful comeback from an old injury that you haven't felt any symptoms of for the last 4-6 weeks.
  • after putting in high mileage for a certain period of time, want to cut back.
  • given your current life situation, can healthfully balance 4-5 days of mid- mileage, along with some basic active recovery.

Level III - High mileage runners. This means that you:

  • have been running consistently for more than a year and have completed at least one prior race of the same distance as your target race. Your goal is to finish within a certain time.
  • have been running injury-free for at least 2 months.
  • love running so much that you want to put in the mileage without the speed or strength workouts.
  • given your current life situation, will be able to make it a priority to do all the active recovery that goes along with the increased duration and intensity of your mileage.

Maintenance Program - Low to mid-mileage runners. This means that you:

  • want to take a break from training for races but want to stay in shape.
  • want to enjoy the group runs for basic fitness and mostly social reasons.
  • given your current life situation, are not able to follow a training schedule but will play it by ear when it comes to your runs and do whatever you can without stressing about it.

As you can see, the Levels are based on objective criteria and have nothing to do with ability but, instead, with helping you find a training schedule that will allow you to accomplish your goal(s) given your recent running background while also minimizing your risk of injury. The question you must ask yourself is: what is the highest mileage I can most healthfully and realistically maintain given everything else that's going on in my life? You can't do everything, but you can do anything you desire if your life is in balance.


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