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Intermediate Running Plans For Non-Beginners

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Following an intermediate running plan helps to reach the next level of goals. Intermediate Running Plans For Non-Beginners www.runnerclick.com

When it comes to being a beginner, finding and following a running plan is a necessity. But even after finishing a 5k or few, non-beginners should continue to train for the next mileage goal or distance race. To do so, we need an intermediate running plan.

It makes sense that a plan for running for beginners is in place to successfully reach goals for those new to the sport or coming back from an injury. 

After finally feeling more like a “real runner” many might feel like picking out an intermediate running workout plan isn’t needed. But consider the fact that even professional runners have coaches. And these coaches essentially provide them with their running plan based on their next big race.

We learn lots as a beginner runner, but there is still lots to know once entering in the intermediate phase.

Intermediate plans help runners achieve goals
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But Why?

The first thing a runner might ask is why they need to continue with a running plan past finishing their first 5k or 10k or finally nailing the run/walk method consistently?

Runners never want to remain stagnant in their progress. We should aim to be better with each run or race and that means training properly. 

Runners need an intermediate running workout plan when looking to finish a 5k faster this time. They also need it to now run their first 10k, half or full marathon.

Besides time and distance goals, following an intermediate running plan also helps keep the motivation alive. Runners don’t want to stop the activity after completing a beginner goal. Always having a workout plan in place increases the chance that the runner continues running at least three times a week. 

The Kinds Of Plans 

The kind of intermediate running plan to chose depends on the end goal. It might just mean finding a general schedule to adhere to continue running.

Intermediate runners now include varied runs to build endurance, muscle strength, and speed. This includes running intervals, tempo runs, track workouts and hitting the hills. 

This brings a beginner plan to the intermediate phase, compared to just running three times a week. 

Then there are the plans that are specific to distance goals. This would be then training for a half marathon after completing 5k races.

These training plans typically consist of two short to mid-distance run during the week along with one long run. The distance of the long run will continue to increase for about 12-weeks.

Finally, there are running plans that include both speed and long-distance for intermediate runners.

Here are some of the popular intermediate running plans.

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Hal Higdon

Running legend Hal Higdon provides intermediate-level training plans for every distance from 5k to a marathon. 

The 5k intermediate plan includes five days of running that includes a tempo run and a long-distance run. The intermediate half marathon training plans are separated to include one for endurance and another option to include one day of speed work to get that PR. 

This workout plan instructs the runner to cross-train for a specific amount of time, as well as the time of a tempo run, as well as track workouts that are done at 5k pace and long runs.

Cool Running 5k PR 

This is a training program to advance in the 5k. It includes repeats like 4 x 800 (four repeats of 880 yards or two laps on the track) as well as hill runs and fartlek runs, periods of fast running combined with slower pace throughout the run. It calls for one rest day.

10k Training Plan From Coach Jenny Hadfield

Running a 10k is the next natural step after no longer feeling like a beginner. An intermediate 10k program is designed to increase the training intensity for those specifically looking for a faster 10k finish time. This means already having run at least one 10k before.

It’s important already have a solid base built before taking on this running workout plan. This means running at least three times a week consistently.

What’s great about this specific plan is Hadfield instructs intermediate runners on the intensity of the run effort. It includes two days of strength training and long long run per week. 

Jeff Galloway Marathon Training 

Jeff Galloway is known for his popular run/walk method. And he even offers an intermediate running plan for those who already have been walking or running for a few weeks.

The goal of this marathon program is just to finish by using his method. It is not a time goal-based plan.

The workout plan itself consists of two timed runs, a walk, two rest days and a mileage-mileage-based run. Just keep in mind that this a 32-week training program.

Intermediate Running Schedule

No matter what training plan used, there is always a common schedule. This includes three runs per week, two rest days, and two cross-training days. This tends to be the magic formula for success.

It’s important to work up to the desired mileage, add in speed work to become faster, to have rest days to recover and cross-train to increase overall fitness and workout out other muscles.

The plans break the workouts or rest days down by day of the week, but it’s fine for an intermediate runner to adjust the plan based on their needs. For example, Monday might call for a rest day but the runner’s schedule allows for Sunday to be the rest day instead.

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How Do You Know You’re Not A Beginner?

Intermediate running training plans are for those who can run at least three to five miles. And have been doing so for weeks.

These runners have completed a 5k or some form of couch to 5k program. But there is no race requirement here. The runner may have simply been running for some time now and now want to take their performance to the next level.

This includes now wanting a better 5k time goal or wanting to run longer distances.

It might sound strange to refer to oneself as an intermediate runner since many continue to feel like beginners for years. However, the term is more to describe the next level of goals to be reached.

What Else Changes?

Keep in mind that moving from a beginner to an intermediate runner comes with it some changes. This means establishing a deeper love and appreciation for the sport. It means the body is already conditioned so running might come easier.

But it also means continuing to put in the hard work needed to advance.

This new level of training might call for additional gear needs such as a new pair of running sneakers and the introduction of sports nutrition products.

Now is a good time to establish a group or at least one running friend or join a running club to get that sense of community and support when starting an intermediate running plan.


  1. Hal Higdon, Half Marathon Training : Intermediate 2, Running Webste
  2. Jenny Hadfield , 10K Training Plans, Running Website
  3. Jeff Galloway, Marathon Training, Running Website

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