This is a 15 week plan with a proposed start date of the first week in December. If you start later, you can adjust accordingly. Week 16 is scheduled to be the first week of xc season on March 15th.
Week 1-3; Mileage total= 6-30 miles; Core 2-3 x week
Week 4-6; Mileage total= 10-35 miles; Core 3 x week; Circuits x 1; Strides 2-3 x week
Week 7-9; Mileage total=15-40; Core 3 x week; Circuits x 2; Strides 3 x week; Hills or Fartlek 1 x week
Week 10-12; Mileage total 20-45; Core 3-4 x week; Circuits x 2; Strides 3-4 x week; Tempo 1 x week; Hills or Fartlek 1 x week
Week 13-15; Mileage total 25-50; Core 3-5 x week; Strides 4 x week; Tempo 1 x week; Hills or Fartlek 1 x week
Definitions of above training terms
Core Any strengthening for abs, back and hips. This includes things like “dirty dozen”, Superman’s, clamshells, etc.
Circuits General strengthening work using body weight. Squats, lunges, pushups, tricep dips are examples. Do for 10-30 seconds each.
Strides These are done after your run and can be in length from 100-200 meters at a pace of 800-1600 race effort. Do 3-6 strides. All are done using good form.
Hills Find hills of varying length from 50-200 m. These can be done after a good warmup of 1-2 miles with a 1-2 mile cool down. Do enough to get tired but without exhaustion at a 5k race pace effort. Remember to use your arms!
Fartlek This is done during a training run where for a 10-20 minute segment you run at 2mile-5k race pace with alternating normal run pace. Example would be 30 seconds race pace followed by 30 seconds normal run pace. Gradually increase the length of each alternating paces and gradually increase the total length of the fartlek time week by week.
Tempo Runs The total amount of time you run at tempo pace is based on your total weekly mileage. The longest tempo run is 10% of your weekly mileage. Example if you run 30 miles per week your longest tempo run is 3 miles. When you do tempo runs, warm up 1-2 miles and cool down 1-2 miles. The tempo effort is “comfortably hard” where you can say a few words but would not want to have a conversation as you would during a regular training run. The pace is roughly 40-50 seconds per mile slower than 5k race pace. Ideally you do this run on a flat surface like a bike path. You should feel pretty good after a tempo run, not as tired as you would after a race and the following day you feel fine. If not, you probably ran too hard.
Have fun and enjoy the process!