A Week of Training for an Elite- How to Fit it all in

Okay, so by now you know that I am a big fan of cross training. You also know that I mostly do two workouts a day, but how do I go about scheduling my week to fit all that in (and still work full-time)?

So today, I thought I would show you how we structure a week to make sure I get it all in, but do not overload my body.

Firstly, I want to remind you that yes, this may look overwhelming, but I have been running for 12 years, and I have built this over time. Steve and I have been very slow with my training progression, and after each big race or segment I take 1-2 weeks completely off all activity, and then build up again starting with 40 miles per week. It may seem intimidating, but believe it or not, this is on the conservative side of things for most elite runners.


am: 9 mile easy run (7:45-8:30 per mile pace)


pm: 3 mile easy run  (7:45-8:30 per mile pace) and Drew’s strength training workout (1 hour total- heavier day)

Most elite runners do two a day runs 3-5 times per week, but Steve and I prefer to do as few of these as we can, and just make the regular runs and workout days longer.


am: 9 mile easy run  (7:45-8:30 per mile pace)

pm: Cross training (either 1 hour ElliptiGO or 50 minute swim)

When I swim, I just use my arms. I feel like my legs get enough of a workout from running, and as this is mostly just to add cardio, I feel like I can do that (going 6-10 strokes each time before breathing) comfortably to increase my cardiovascular fitness without tiring my body out too much


Luckily, these last few weeks I have been able to swim in this outdoor pool, which I am SO thankful for…..but it has been rather chilly a few times, when it is 45 degrees out….it does get cold in there!


am: Longer workout (14-15 miles total)- 8 mile tempo with 3 mile warm up and 3 miles cool down

Yes, 8 miles may seem very intimidating for a tempo, and many people will wonder how you can run hard for 8 miles, but this is where the consistent pacing comes in. I am very good at holding a pace, or cutting down a pace, but is something that CAN be worked on, if you listen to my advice from last week about not looking at your GPS during workouts.

This was a pretty hard effort for me. I was very tired by the end. Steve and I use a system of 1-10 so I know how hard to work during each workout. By the end of this, I would say I ran 8/10 (10/10 is race effort).

pm: rest

I actually ended up having a one hour sports massage that evening with Robin Rogers, which was great to get rid of the junk and work out any trouble spots.


am: 9 mile easy run  (7:45-8:30 per mile pace)

pm: Drew’s Strength Training workout (1 hour total lighter day)


am: “Speed” workout (12 miles total)- 2 minute, 1 minute, 30 seconds x 4 with 1 minute jog between reps and 2 minute jogs between sets. 4 miles warm up, 3.5 miles cool down. I went a liiiiitttle too fast on the first few 2 minutes, and paid for it later, it was also 70 degrees by the time I finished, so sweating like crazy…..sorry to those who were snowed in!


pm: Cross training (either 45 mins ElliptiGO or 30 minute swim)


am: 9 mile easy run (7:45-8:30 per mile pace)

pm: rest


am: 17 mile long run (7:00-8:30 pace)


Total: 82 miles

And there you have it. That was last week’s training!

I am sure many will be curious about the hard days hard, easy days easy approach. I have read about how important this is, and as much as I like the idea, I have found that now my body is used to the strength training, for the most part, I find it does not affect me for my workouts the next day. This is also why I like to have one day per week of just one easy run with nothing else (this week was Saturday).

As for the cross training, That can be squeezed in anywhere. We have decided that I should do one per week on a workout day, and another, longer session on an easy day. That way I can flush some of the junk out of my legs without loading them with an extra run, but keep another day for a longer cross training session.

Oh, and as for the two workouts per week. This is not an every week thing. We vary between one workout a week, but taking the longer run a little faster (around 7:00 average), and the two workouts a week you see here. Steve is very methodical about my training, and has reason to everything we do.

Hopefully this helps to clear up a little more about what we do and why we do it!

How does your training week look?

[bctt tweet=”Ever wondered what a week of training for an elite runner looks like? @tinamuir shares her week!” via=”no”]

PS. Make sure you take a read of Sarah’s blog today, it is about her and I, and how we approach races differently, which do you fall under?

cross training, elite runner, week of training

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  • I love this!!! I just love seeing how other runners (especially elites!) plan their weeks/months, etc. I can also relate to going out a liiitttllle too fast and paying for it later – ugh!!
    Soak up that weather and warmth because it’s freezing and snowy here 🙂

  • I always think that any training plan look intimidating until you start and you see how all the pieces fit into the puzzle. On the surface, it can look like WAY TOO MUCH. Especially when you see things written out! But often, it is the simplest schedules or workouts on paper that get you the hardest!

  • So interesting to read this. I’d love to run as much as you but I tend to be quite injury prone (also I’m most certainly not elite so don’t have the same goals!!). It’s good to see you incorporate strength training as well as I find this is so important for my running.

  • Really good to see what a typical week of training looks like for you as an elite compared to what an ordinary joe like me does. Thought it was particularly of help to see that you do quite a lot of easy runs and seem to really make the harder sessions count. Very impressive lady 🙂

  • Lisa@runningoutofwine
    January 25, 2016 9:54 am

    Very interesting! Even though I do so much less than you I still struggle to fit it all in. But I think it’s just important to find the right balance of running, cross-training, strength training etc.

  • What a great article! I like the idea of using a 0-10 scale. I never know how hard I’m supposed to be working on my easy days; what number on the scale do you aim for when you’re running easy?

  • Laura Anderson
    January 25, 2016 12:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Tina, the thing I really love about it is seeing the easy paces. Sometimes it’s hard to slow down and feel like we need to set the ego aside to do so. But someone of your level running those paces, is a good reminder that easy days are supposed to be slower and easy for a reason.

  • Heather @fitncookies
    January 25, 2016 12:58 pm

    This was so interesting to me. I feel like you need to have a solid base of any training before adding in 2 a days. Your body can handle it, where many cannot. I love seeing how you fit everything in!

  • This is so interesting! I was actually curious about structuring hard days and strength training, since I strength train (which I’ve been doing for years now) on easy days in the evening before a harder workout. It’s nice to know that more talented runners such as you do that!

  • Happy Training Tina! Looks like you’re getting some great work in! Xxx

  • I have been waiting for this blog post FOREVER. Lol I am so glad you wrote it out! I’m bookmarking it. I find the elite running world so fascinating. Thank you for sharing this with us Tina!!!

  • Love, love, love reading this!! So interesting how you make it all work and everything has a reason. I like how you make time for cross training without sacrificing your running. I have been thinking about swimming (which I love) to add more cardio without tiring your legs. Thanks so much for sharing with us Tina!!! 🙂

  • You are a master at getting it all in, i”m totally impressed. My mileage at peak week is half of yours and I can still barely fit it all in!! Hope you are enjoying the warm sunshine!!

  • TINA!!! I did the speed work workout today except on the treadmill and I just about died. I HATED IT. I loved it. You know how it goes.

  • I love seeing your training! It was fun looking at your plan with you back in October when we were all together. I appreciate you being so open so that others can learn and see what you are up to. xoxo

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