When Should I Repeat a Week of None to Run?

When Should I Repeat a Week of None to Run?

Mark Kennedy
Founder of None to Run
August 18, 2023

None to Run is a guideline or framework to help you start running and progress at a safe, enjoyable pace. 

As you would expect, running plans that are not tailored to the individual have their limitations. 

One such limitation of None to Run is the question of when to progress to subsequent weeks of the plan. 

Yes, the plan repeats some weeks by design.  N2R progresses slowly to help you build confidence, strength and cardiovascular fitness.

But sometimes a particular week feels challenging.

Too difficult.

If there is a particular week that was too challenging, we advise you to listen to your body and repeat the week before progressing to the next.

But what does this mean? 

How are you to decide whether the week was too challenging?

Monitoring Exercise Intensity

Runners today have a lot of ways to monitor their workouts.

It started with heart rate monitors and has accelerated towards numerous other options/tech tools as well. 

There are three main ways you can monitor your exercise intensity (i.e. how challenging your run was):           


1) Heart Rate

For the most part, your heart rate (“HR”) increases as you work harder.

So why doesn’t N2R encourage everyone to wear a HR monitor and have you maintain your HR within a certain range?

Good question!

People have different HR profiles. 

Resting HR, max HR, lactate thresholds, etc.

These metrics all vary amongst individuals.

Your age, current fitness levels and genetics, amongst other things, can all play a factor. 

It takes time to learn how your HR behaves.

Over time though, you’ll learn how your HR responds to different exercise intensities.

If you’re running at a pace that feels fast, you’ll start to figure out approximately what HR that pace corresponds to…and you’ll slow down appropriately.

But as I mentioned above, this takes time.

In the beginning, there’s enough to think about when you run….who wants to be constantly checking their watch or phone to see what their HR is??

HR monitoring can wait.             


2) Pace

Pace indicates how fast you’re running (min/km or min/mile).

Using pace as a gauge of monitoring your running intensity entices beginner runners to push too fast, too soon.

As you likely already know, the 12-week N2R running plan does not focus on pace at all.

Instead, N2R builds “time on your feet '', which includes a lot of walking to start. 

The plan progresses to more running as you move through weeks 1 to 12.

Pace (like HR) can be an effective tool to measure running intensity, but I think it’s better suited for people who have been running for a long time.

Monitoring your running intensity using pace can wait.

3) Relative Perceived Effort (RPE) - PREFERRED BY N2R                  

Your RPE is a subjective assessment of how physically and mentally challenging a run was for you.

I am a fan of the ten-point scale of perceived effort. 

In particular, I like the ten-point scale in Matt Fitzgerald’s book, “80/20 Running”.

Unlike HR and pace, RPE can help you take into account the effect of stressors like heat, lack of sleep, elevation and inadequate nutrition. 

For example, let’s say you’re a morning person. All of your runs up to Week 3, Run 2 have been in the morning. You rated most of the running intervals of Week 3, Run 2 as a 6 or 7.

Then you get called into an early meeting at work on the day you're supposed to run Week 3, Run 3…so, you squeeze in the run at 9 PM (after dinner and the kids are in bed). Your pace was slower and it just felt hard.  Most of the running intervals felt like an 8 or 9!

Yes, there are always different variables at play, but running the same route (at the same pace) at a different time of day made the run feel harder. 

What Level of Intensity Should I be Running?

When you’re starting N2R, you should aim to run the running intervals at an intensity of 5 or less. 

Will there be times (especially in the first 4-5 weeks) where you might hit a rating of 8, 9 or 10 during some of the running intervals? 

Perhaps (especially near the end of a particular workout).

And that’s okay.

Improving your running involves training your brain to be uncomfortable just as much (or possibly more) than your body.

You’ll learn more about your body after each run and be better able to manage your intensity.

When should I repeat a week?

Each week of the N2R plan you perform the same run three times. 

If during the 3rd run of the week, most of your running intervals were at a 7 or lower, you’re likely okay to proceed to the next week of the plan.

If the last few intervals of the 3rd run of the week took you over the edge and into the 8, 9 and 10 range…I’d encourage you to consider repeating that week.

Note for N2R app users: To mark a particular week incomplete in order to repeat it, please see the screenshots below.              


How do I know I am getting fitter if I use RPE?

REMEMBER - you’re training your body and your mind!  

As your body gets fitter, your brain also gets accustomed to higher levels of perceived effort. 

The workouts will get more difficult, but your mind is better prepared to tolerate them.

That’s when running gets easier and more enjoyable!

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