Questions about training

Should I orientate myself on the specified speeds or pulse rates?

Training according to heart rate, speed or feeling? This question not only occupies you, but also the complete runner world.

Whoever wants to attain specified target times, cannot avoid running according to allotted times. Then, if we are honest, at the finish of a competition nobody is interested in how high the average pulse was, but only, for example, whether the 40:00 mark over 10000 m was beaten or not.

The "stolid" adherence to the specified pace is particularly applicable to the intensive sessions (interval, medium pace) on a flat stretch. If the route ascends, the speed is reduced.

As soon as you participate in endurance runs, you may, or rather should, pay great significance to the subjective level of exertion: Your feeling should always be maintained at similar levels (very easy, easy, medium). If you can achieve this well, by the subsequent evaluation, you will ascertain that your heart rate slightly increases uphill, slightly decreases downhill and the speed responds conversely.

Why must I never run at the competition speed?

This factor is associated with your attitudes: Here, your attitude can be primarily accountable for the question "How fast can you run?". The priority of your competitions is secondary.

Why are my long jogs so slow?

All in good time. The key to the success on the one hand and the long careers of Markus Ryffel, Viktor Röthlin and Christian Belz on the other, is the periodization and slow(er) running during basic training. However, the nearer the competition approaches, the endurance runs are (also) more intensive.

Why are my long jogs so fast?

The entire experience of Markus Ryffel, Viktor Röthlin and Christian Belz is included in the development of running.COACH. They have personally adopted this treasure and in exchange with the best runners and trainers, amongst others in Kenya, America or New Zealand. And you profit from this.

A big difference to the previous plans actually lies in the field of long runs: Whilst LSD (Long Slow Distance) has been preached for many years, in the last few years it has been shown that at specified times during preparation for a competition, higher speeds are (more) effective.

Your objective should be that you can also profit from these effects as soon as possible. However, whoever has concerns that the high pace could be overwhelming should primarily orientate themselves on endurance in the first phase. Later, acceleration to the finishing speed at the end or underway always intersperse blocks with the desired speed.

Is there something opposing me running my standard rounds instead of the specified distance and time?

In training, primarily orientate yourself on the time that positively influences the basic endurance. As soon as it becomes more intensive and the motor is strengthened with the interval and medium pace sessions, the target should be adhered to as accurately as possible. Our targets should motivate you in training and in no way constrain you. For this reason, we also give an example for a range of paces (e.g. endurance run 1: 5:20-5:40 per Km). It can be fundamentally stated that extending an endurance run by approximately 5-15 minutes is not harmful. On the contrary: It is the easiest and, simultaneously, a useful option to improve the performance with little effort.

How quickly should I run during the warm-up and running down phase, as well as during the jogging pauses?

For this, select the speed required for "regeneration". Thereby, the pulse is secondary.

Should I also do strength training?

Fundamentally, our opinion to strength training is as follows: Strength is generally required to enable sustaining a stable and upright attitude whilst running. This can be attained by doing torso-stabilizing exercises. The specific strength is related to the muscular mass of the legs. This can be acquired by targeted strengthening in the gymnasium, by jumping, or running up a hill or mountain.

Foot gymnastics should be included in the portfolio of every runner. Healthy and strong feet is the basic prerequisite for successful and trouble-free training.

We suggest your optimum mix depending on your training frequency. Click on the Video-Link each day and do each of the combination of exercises.

Specific build-up of strength in a fitness centre can represent a good option for desired intensification of training. If this training is selected, it should be carried out twice a week (e.g. Mo/Fr). The duration of strength training specifically for running is a maximum of 45 minutes. Thus, this can be easily appended to a light running training. In every case, the strength exercises also represent the basis here. Subsequently, the muscular endurance and weight should be increased and, the nearer the competition approaches, the repetitions are reduced.

Summarized: Whoever runs 2-6 times a week attains more with one additional running session than with a session of strength training in a fitness centre. However, prerequisite is regular strength exercises. Whoever trains 7 times and more can seriously consider about doing specific strength training. If carried out, then it should consist of two sessions each week.

I prefer to move all my training around until it fits into my calendar. But I do ask myself, does that affect me in a negative or positive way?

Whoever always wants the optimum stimulation from training and wants to ensure that the surrounding training is accordingly coordinated, makes the "detour" over the attitudes and selection of training days. Drag&For example, Drop enables you to defer a training session that you absolutely want to do, or bring it forward. However, the surrounding training days are not adjusted by this.

The sequence and adjustment of the individual training to each other is an unmitigated decisive element in planning the training in general and, in particular, for running.COACH. It is, as it were, the key to optimum resilience and continuous improvement. In this respect, it does not make sense to shuffle around all training sessions without considering the sequence.

I periodically train on the treadmill. What must I consider?

Good treadmills provide the option to change the gradient. Thus, the monotonous running on the mill can suddenly become more varied and demanding. It is best to change the gradient every couple of minutes, without forgetting to also run on the "flat" now and again. Incidentally: In order to simulate running on the surface 1:1, generally set a gradient of 1%

Should I do any sessions missed?

No, missed sessions are not carried out.

I do not feel so fit. Does the running.COACH take that into consideration?

Click adjacent to the large digit on the minus. Thus, the training is "defused".

Is the medium pace run during preparation for a marathon also similar to the race pace?

The speed of medium pace sessions is based on the settings (answer to the question "How fast can you run?" and the objective of the competition). In the event of preparation for a marathon, the medium pace is the actual pace that will be run in the marathon.

In the event of shorter competitions, training at the medium pace has the function to ensure aerobic support in the competition. This indicates the great significance of these training sessions.

It is also quite possible that, in a training session, for example 2x 15 min., there is the feeling that one can run much faster. Precisely then, one should try to restrain oneself and adhere to the target, so that this intensity range is covered.

Questions about functionality of running.COACH

Where can I enter my desired time?

Based on your data, the program calculates a realistic target time for you. A desired value cannot be entered, because this would result in certain runners who totally overestimate themselves to intensively train and, in the worst case, could injure themselves. In any case, the program tries to bring you to the best possible result.

Why is the plan not continuously adjusted?

Adjustments in training should be gradually carried out. For this reason, the system responds to changes in the settings to which we regularly summon you. A program can always be an instrument for only controlling your own training, that can assume much, but not "listen to the own internal voice".

The longer one trains for a competition, does the specified competition time also adjust depending on the training frequency and intensity?

The projected competition time is only adjusted if the 10000 m time and/or the distance of the competition is changed. Thus, there is no stress to cheat when recording

Does the system automatically adjust the plan after a competition?

The program assumes that, during competitions, you run under optimum, external conditions. No wind, no rain, no heat, all of which could lead to a worse result. After a competition, we advise you to enter the effective values, so that you can view them at a later date.

Because the program does not know what the race conditions, profile and condition of the route were, no automatic adjustments are carried out.

However, if you adjust the settings in the question "How fast can you run?", your training times will be recalculated to be faster or slower and the competition prognosis.

I took much longer for my competition than the prognosis. Should I record this, or will the running.COACH subsequently specify slower training?

Practically each race and training run includes, amongst other things, difference in altitude, bends and headwind. In addition, heat, cold or a difficult running surface (snow, stones, slope). All of this can result in a worse time than targeted. This is really not a problem, firstly, because the running.COACH gives a time range for the training runs that absorbs this and, secondly, does not automatically adjust. After a competition, we advise you to enter the effective values, so that you can view them at a later date. Because the program does not know what the conditions, profile and condition of the route were, no automatic adjustments are carried out.

My competition prognosis for the mountain race is not at all correct. Why?

A prognosis for mountain races is relatively difficult because it is not known how the difference in altitude is distributed. Are differences in altitude at the start of the race? Or are they uniformly distributed? In addition, there are the different prerequisites for the runners: Runner A is stronger than runner B in lightly ascending terrain than steep inclines. In competition A, the difference in altitude is at the beginning, for competition B at the end. In competition C, only slowly running downhill is possible due to the steep gradient. These are only a few factors that indicate the difficulty in making a reliable prognosis.

What will happen if I change my settings?

Only the positions/settings that have been changed will have an effect on the calculation for the new plan. If, for example, "only" the question "How fast can you run?" is recalculated, only the pace is changed. The rest remains the same.

General questions

How to run a race in the heat?

For the prognosis, running.COACH assumes that your competitions are held under "normal" conditions. As soon as heat, cold and air humidity comes into play, the performance can be negatively influenced. How drastic the drop is, depends on various factors. For example, the body size (the smaller the better), the fluid balance (the less dehydrated the better), the length of the competition (the shorter the less the influence) or whether your body is already accustomed to the high temperatures.

Therefore, generally applicable statements are difficult to formulate, because there are so many (individual) influencing factors. However, from a temperature of 20 degrees, it is good advice for somebody who listens to their body to adjust their speed downwards.

Here are our tips:

  • During preparation, try to run as often as possible in the heat. The organism should be able to adjust itself to the high temperatures.
  • On the day previous to the competition and on the competition day itself, drink sufficient %liquid. The urine should be lucid and clear.
  • Before the start, you should avoid the sun and only warm up for a brief period. Ideally with a cool, slightly moist vest.
  • Use water to cool your body during the competition, by moistening your hair and the running vest. Wash the sweat from the body with water.
  • The fluid that you have should be slightly mineralized. If you mix your own drink, add 1 gram (1 pinch) of salt to one litre of water.


What are the aspects for optimum preparation for a race with preparatory races?

To attain new best times, it will be virtually impossible not to compete in some preparatory races. However, these should be dosed (2-4 in the complete preparation period) and always serve the purpose of the main race. On the route to the 4 basic distances, this could be as follows:

5000 m:

  • 2-3 preparatory races spread over the last 8 of the 12 weeks of preparation.
  • Last race 7 days before the main race, maximum 3000 m.
  • Distances of the races, reducing towards the race, later increasing. For example, 10000 m, 5000 m, 1500 m, 3000 m and main race.


  • 2-4 preparatory races spread over the last 10 of the 14 weeks of preparation.
  • Last race 7 days before the main race, maximum 5000m.
  • Distances of the races, reducing towards the race, final race shorter. For example, 15000 m, 10000 m, 5000 m, 5000 m and main race.


  • 3-4 preparatory races spread over the last 12 of the 16 weeks of preparation.
  • Last race 14 days before the main race, maximum 10000 m.
  • Distances of the races, increasing towards the race, final race shorter. For example, 5000 m, 10000 m, 15000 m, 10000 m and main race.


  • 3-4 preparatory races spread over the last 14 of the 20 weeks of preparation.
  • Half-marathon as "mandatory requirement", ideally four weeks before the main race.
  • Last race 14 days before the main race, ideally 10000 m.
  • Distances of the races, increasing towards the race, final race shorter. For example, 10000 m, 15000 m, half-marathon, 10000 m and main race.

I was ill. How should I now start?

We who also regularly run and, thus, do some good for the immune system, are not protected against viruses. It can happen that one is flat out in bed for a few days, weakened by fever, cold, angina or other flu symptoms. In such events, one is understandably rampant with fear that the cautiously established form vanishes in no time . For one time we cannot give the all-clear but, with our tips, at least make sure that the comeback is successful:

  1. Accept the fact that you are affected by a virus and do not wrangle with destiny. Then, nothing can be changed one way or the other.
  2. Give your body the required rest. Get ample sleep and drink plenty of fluids.
  3. Forgo training and, in the event of fever, observe the rule of thumb as follows: After the fever has subsided, abstain from intensive training for the duration of the days of fever. For example: 4 days fever, subsequently 4 further days of only extensive, but no intensive training. By a click on the minus, adjacent to the large digit, take the opportunity here to ease the training. If the abstinence from running has taken longer, in the settings, adjust the answer to the question "How long can you run today?".

I was injured. How should I now start?

Unfortunately, to some extent injuries belong to the life of a runner. Even Viktor, Christian and Markus have not been spared. There are many reasons. A major reason is that when running, comparatively large forces must be counteracted (eccentric). However, our body can get used to it if a few basic rules are observed:

  • Observe training and recuperation as a session: Another training stimulus is only appropriate when recuperation is complete.
  • The recuperation time varies: Attuning the forms of training to one another is "crucial to the match", then the individual forms of training (interval, endurance run, long jog, etc.) require different duration of recuperation. Running.COACH provides the optimum balance.
  • Uniform promotion of all factors of condition (endurance, power, mobility, coordination, speed) prepares our body for the requirements and protects against injuries.
  • Training stimulus should be adequate. Whilst our body tolerates static and concentric muscle activity reasonably well, caution must be applied in the area of eccentric activity.

The last point indicates that, after a longer pause from running – even if previously, for example 50 weeks of uninterrupted running was achieved – you should start slowly. Running.COACH immediately takes this into consideration when the settings are adjusted. The questions "How long could you run today?“ and "How fast can you run?" must be reassessed. Consequently, the training suggested for a few weeks is shorter and the pace slower.

What nourishment should I take during the race week?

Nourishment is an important piece in the mosaic regarding maximum performance on the race day. Only those who completely replenish their glycogen reserves, have no deficit in liquid and, thereby, have a good gut feeling, are prepared for optimum performance in the race.

Fundamentally, your nourishment should consist of a selective range of diverse, high-quality, low-processed foodstuffs. Then supplements are only required in specific situations and do not replace the basic nourishment.

Up until a few years ago, the "Sweden diet" was omnipresent in the sporting circle before a race. Thereby, a week before a long race, an attempt was made to initially completely drain the glycogen reserves and, subsequently, to overfill them. This was supported by three days of high-fat, low carbohydrate victual food and, subsequently, high-carbohydrate food closer to the race. Because the disadvantages were clearly evident, the Sweden diet loses more and more supporters. Physical and psychological sense of weakness, as well as digestive disorders are quasi the side effects, practical problems in the composition of this extreme diet are a stumbling block for many.

In the past years, a rather more moderate "diet" has established itself, whereby, during the week of the race, the carbohydrate content is continuously increased from 50% to 70%. In addition, from 2 days before the race, no fibre-rich foods (e.g. fruit, vegetables and salad in large quantities, full-milk products, legumes) are consumed and attention is paid to an adequate supply of fluid. Using this method, quasi the same effects are attained as with the Sweden diet.

Our tips:

  • Take regular and varied nourishment with high-quality, low-processed food.
  • Continuously increase the carbohydrate content to 70% during the week of the race.
  • For races that have a duration of more than 60 minutes, we recommend the intake of gels or similar. Practice taking nourishment during your training. The long jogs and medium pace are suitable for this.
  • If you are running a race of more than 45 minutes, the intake of a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink is useful.
  • Do not experiment before the main race. Test everything precociously during training. This applies to the foodstuffs and drinks, as well as for the time of intake of the nourishment. For example, marathons usually start early morning. Practice this 1:1.

Should I include alternative training?

Fundamentally, we can recommend compensation to all runners by doing alternative sports. For the following reasons:

  • Running is a motion that relatively unilaterally loads the musculature. The motions are all directed in the same direction, in principle, very seldom are there sideward or rearward movements. Games set a completely different, welcome stimulus. Incidentally, just the same as many of our running technique exercises that appear in the videos and depending on your training frequency.
  • Alternative sports stimulate motivation. One is glad of the change, as well as the particular enjoyment of the subsequent running workout. The psychological component is not to be underestimated. As Mike mentioned, the fun factor and motivation for long-term success are of great significance.
  • The locomotor system can be conserved through alternative endurance sports, because the body weight must not normally be carried or at least there is no flight phase as with running. Thus, endurance can be gently developed and strengthened.

The frequency of the alternative sports should be harmonized to the personal ambitions. The more ambitious, the more the running workouts should take precedence and the key training (medium pace, interval, long jog) should be carried out. Ideally, in addition to intensive game training, or an alternative session, casual jogging for 20 to 30 minutes should be carried out.

Alternative endurance training sessions should also be include in the training plan as additional sessions. In contrast, we advise you to omit games in the planning.

Incidentally: Our three figureheads are also underway with alternative sports: Whilst Viktor plays table tennis with his masseur each week in Switzerland and regularly cycles or swims, Christian and Markus are notably underway on cross-country skis and the bicycle.

Can I print out my training plan?

It is possible to print out individual training sessions, as well as for 2 to 8 weeks. The corresponding links can be found in the training protocol and in the list view.

What can I do about stitch?

The prevailing reason for the characteristic stitch is a local ischaemia (insufficient blood circulation) in the diaphragm, whereby, the mechanism is not fully established. In this context, it is interesting that, as children, we already learnt not to eat anything before endurance training. Today, this tip can be explained: Eating causes the above mentioned reduced blood circulation, because blood is "removed" for digestion.

Our tip: During preparation, repeatedly simulate the race situation regarding nourishment: The last easily digestible meal about 3-4 hours before beginning the physical activity. Further smaller snacks a minimum of 1-2 hours beforehand.