• Abby Heffern

The Importance of Individualized Running Programs

The concept of each individual needing a training program that fits their specific goals, lifestyle, weaknesses, strengths, age, injury history, training load tolerance, personality etc. seems fairly well understood in every sport except running. I can’t think of another sport that has more incorrect claims from running magazines of “run x miles a week to be a successful marathoner,” “download our half marathon training program,” “do x type of training to improve your 10K time.” Unfortunately I also see this with coaches who give the same program to every athlete, or are glued to one method of training. Intervals, tempo runs, fartleks, and long runs all have specific purposes and more often than not need to be used in balance with each other- and even that balance is always changing depending on how the athlete is feeling, if appropriate progress is being made, and where the athlete is in the training cycle.

I celebrate anything that gets anyone out the door and involved in this beautiful sport, but sometimes I worry it does more harm than good when people are sold a cookie cutter program or method of training that doesn’t fit them as an individual- and they end up not progressing, maybe getting injured, and believing “I’m just not a runner.”


Sprinters are born, but endurance athletes are MADE. There is nothing genetic about being able to complete a 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon- we’re not all going to break world records- but ANYONE can go the distance with the right support, program, hard work, and consistency.


If you were ever once excited and hopeful about training for a race or starting your running journey only to end up discouraged or injured, drop me a line- I want to hear your story.


If your progress has plateaued and you have no idea what a fartlek or tempo run is, and didn’t even know there was such a thing as balance in a running program, drop me a line- I can help.


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Interested in 1-on-1 or remote coaching? Contact us at wilddogatheltics.info@gmail.com, find us on Instagram @wild_dogathletics, or come visit us at 3125 Fortune Way, Wellington FL.

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