Race season is upon us! It is that time of year when we gear up for spring races and plan our fall race schedule. Many of us pull training programs off the internet, while others try toRunning Training on a Green Field replicate what may have worked in the past. Some of us will hook up with a local running group or hire a personal running coach.

These scenarios may yield positive outcomes, but what if they don’t? How do you know what makes a good training program, especially when training for anything needs to be specific to your goals or weaknesses?

No one training plan works for everyone, and sometimes, what worked in the past doesn’t necessarily work again in the future. Age, recovery time, and life responsibilities, among many other factors, can get in the way of efficient and practical training. That said, overall principles make up any good training program.

The running experts at SPARK Physio have taken these core principles and designed what the running world will soon use as the benchmark for all training programs:

Welcome to F.A.S.T. Running

This framework will guide a runner through an entire season of running, no matter the race distance. Choose your start point and distance; the program is tailored to your running needs. So what is F.A.S.T. Running? 


To become an F.A.S.T. Runner, you enter the Foundations phase. Runners need to know where they are to plan where they want to go and how to get there. This training phase includes gathering baseline physical measures of strength, endurance, mobility, and running efficiency through our Combine testing. Goal setting allows the SPARK Running experts to design a program tailored to achieving those goals, but most importantly, instilling the proper habits to create the ideal training process. Within this phase, runners learn optimal running form, lifting techniques, prep and recovery routines, and fueling and footwear needs.


The next phase is the Athletic phase. This builds upon the principles and habits set during the Foundations phases to sharpen speed further, continue building endurance and strength, and maintain mobility while introducing power and agility movements to improve a runner’s speed and resiliency to injury. This is also when more intense speedwork is introduced into the running portion of the training. Runners aren’t athletes, you say? You will be after this phase.


The third phase of FAST Running is the Sport-Specific phase. This is the fun part: runners get to put all their hard work into action. Whether it’s race day for the road runners or champion season for high school athletes, this is the time to shine. This phase focuses on race day strategy while keeping all cylinders of speed, power, strength, and endurance firing for the highest likelihood of success when it matters most.


The finale? Pat yourself on the back and relax during the Transition phase. This is the time to reflect on the past season of training and race outcomes while giving your body some TLC through active recovery techniques. New goals can be set while tweaking the previous plan to modify what didn’t work, keep what did, and experiment with new training techniques. Because as we say at SPARK, “The only wrong way to train is without a plan.”

Dr. Ivy L. Jordan, PT, DPT, CSCS, HKC                                   

Performance Physical Therapist / Running Performance Specialist 

Dr. Jordan received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and her Bachelor’s in Exercise Science from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. She competed for four years in cross-country and track and field while attending UMary, with areas of specialty in the 1500/1600m, 3000m, 5000m, and 3000m steeplechase. She continues to be an avid runner with a strong interest in working with the running population, whether achieving a personal record or taking the first step towards joining the running community. Dr. Jordan is also a high school cross-country and track and field coach specializing in distance events.