Trail running goals and plans

Setting trail running goals and making a plan for the summer trail running season. 25K training plan that incorporates hiking.

Trail running season is finally starting! That means it’s high time for me to start planning for summer trail races. This weekend I finally decided on my trail running goals and mapped out a basic plan, so I thought I’d share those today.

I’m working towards two goals: a goal race and a more general, long-term goal.

Goal race: a 25K at the end of July. The longest trail races I’ve done were about 7.5 miles (this is a surprisingly common trail race distance), so I’m just going to double that distance, no big deal. More seriously, I’ve run 13.1 miles on the road and I’ve hiked 13 miles with 7,000+ feet of elevation gain and loss, so I’m sure I can cover the distance. The challenge will be covering it with something resembling speed, which brings me to the second goal.

General goal: increase uphill speed. You’ll see most people power hiking at least parts of the long, steep uphills in trail races, so this isn’t entirely about running faster; even my uphill hiking is relatively slow! I jokingly blame it on my short legs, but I know I could still improve quite a bit.

The plan: I have 9 weeks before the 25K, but we’ll be on vacation one of those weeks so I’m planning for 8 weeks of structured training. My first priority for training is getting lots of hills in – both running and hiking. I’m planning for 3 runs and 2 hikes a week, though realistically I expect some weeks will only have 1 hike. One of the runs will be hill repeats, and my long runs will be on mountain trails as often as possible.

My secondary focus is strength training. I’ve been focusing on increasing strength for the past several weeks; I’ll keep following the same gym training plan, but doing 2 workouts per week instead of the 3 I had been. I also have a bad habit of avoiding lower body moves that I’m weaker in, so I plan to make sure I incorporate those – specifically lunges, split squats, and step ups.

I had a hard time finding training plans that incorporated hiking, so I ended up putting one together myself. It’s pretty basic, but also I’m not a running coach; so if for some reason you want to follow my plan do so at your own risk. I’ll keep my training essentially the same each week, just adding distance or intensity as appropriate. Each week’s schedule will look something like this:

Monday: easy run, 3-5 miles. Yoga class (may move to Wednesday or Thursday).

Tuesday: hill repeats, 4-8 miles total. strength workout, lower body focused.

Wednesday: short hike, 2-6 miles.

Thursday: strength workout, upper body focused.

Friday: long run, 6-14 miles.

Saturday-Sunday: long hike (5-10 miles) one day, rest the other.

Apart from long runs, I haven’t specified mileage in my plan yet. I’ll review the plan at the beginning of each week and add specifics based on how training has been going and my schedule for the week. And now I’m excited to hit some trails!

Do you have any trail running goals for the summer?

Would you be interested in reading a weekly training recap here?

11 Comment

  1. It sounds like you’ve got a solid plan! I agree that it’s so hard to find good training plans that fit in both hiking and running, which is why I write my own as well. Long runs on Fridays are the way to go to fit in hiking and distance running! Your Tuesday workouts are already making my legs hurt with the hills + lower body strength. I need to get better about hill running!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks! Glad it gets the running coach stamp of approval 😉 Tuesday really wasn’t as bad as I expected…then again, the soreness will probably set in tomorrow!

  2. It looks like you’re on track to smash that 25K 😉 Go girl!
    Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Healthy Chicken and Dumpling SoupMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks Kristy!

  3. Strength training will help with your uphills, and uphills will help with your strength! Just remember that doing uphill is like doing strength, so rest accordingly.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Yes, I definitely plan to make sure my legs get enough rest! I may have learned that one the hard way 🙂

  4. 2x I have tried to do races on a trail and I have tripped over branches covered by leaves. Kind of scared to try again
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Why I won’t be running a marathonMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Ouch! I actually trip far more often on roads…go figure.

  5. […] had a reasonably successful week one of 25k training. I say “reasonably” because, while I didn’t skip anything, the runs were neither […]

  6. […] You can see my (rough) training plan here. […]

  7. […] this weekend, since Saturday will be two weeks out from the race. I’d like to get back to my planned schedule, but if the bleh makes a return I’ll take it […]

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