Plan Focus: Running Improvement Plan

By Rob Shaul

This training plan is designed for athletes interested specifically in increasing their running speed, volume and running-specific aerobic base. It has three objectives:

(1) Increase speed over ground
This 15-week training program is divided into three, 5-week blocks for the speed over ground running work.

Weeks 1-5 deploy multiple 1.5 mile running assessments and 800m repeats based upon your assessment times

Weeks 6-10 deploy 3-mile running assessments and 1-mile repeats based upon your assessment times

Weeks 11-15 deploy 6-mile running assessments and 2-mile repeats based upon your assessment times

(2) Increase running-specific leg strength, core strength and upper body strength.
This training plan includes focused, running-specific leg, mid-section and upper body strength training deploying bodyweight and/or dumbbells.

(3) Increase running aerobic base and efficiency for longer distance runs.
While the Speed Over Ground work in the plan is anchored in 5-week blocks, the longer runs in the plan progress steadily throughout. Easy distance run volume increases throughout the plan and the pace is based upon your most recent speed over ground assessment.

You’ll run easy, long distance two times/week on back to back days (Friday and Saturday). These easy runs start at 3 miles on week one and progress to 12 miles on week 15.

Total running volume in the plan begins at 11 miles total in Week 1 and finishes at 34 miles total on week 15.


Automatically “Scales” to Each Individual Athlete
This 15-week  program deploys increasing distance running assessments (1.5, 3 and 6 mile), and uses the individual athlete’s assessment results and the MTI Running Calculator for follow-on progressions – both speed over ground and easy runs.

In this way, the training plan automatically “scales” to the individual athlete’s incoming running speed and distance and can be used for both unfit/inexperienced runners and/or fit/experienced runners.

Different Athletes May Begin the Plan at Different Weeks
This training plan designed so athletes who have different running improvement needs can begin the plan in different places to address their specific deficiencies.

Working on improving your 1.5 or 2-mile run time for a military PFT, and/or are new to running? Begin the plan on week 1.

Working to improve a 3-mile run time and/or have some running experience but need lots of work? Start at week 6.

Working to improve a 5 mile or 10K run time and/or are an experienced runner wanting to be pushed? Start at week 11.

This program is designed to be completed as a stand alone program, but it can also be completed concurrently a strength-focused MTI or other strength training program by starting this plan on Week 6 and dropping the Tuesday and Thursday strength days from this training program.

Below is the weekly training schedule:

  • Mon: Assessment or Speed over Ground Intervals
  • Tue: Strength Training
  • Wed: Speed over Ground Intervals
  • Thu: Strength Training
  • Fri: Easy Distance Run
  • Sat: Easy Distance Run

Common Questions

What is the Required Equipment?

  • Stop Watch
  • Pull Up Bar
  • Pair of Dumbbells (15# for women, 25# for men)
  • Foam Roller

How Long do the Sessions Last?
60-120 minutes depending upon your running pace. Longest days will be the Friday and Saturday long easy runs.

Can I see sample training?
Click HERE then click the “sample training tab” to see the entire first week of programming.


This is Version 2 of the plan, updated April, 2017.

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