PlanPeak ETC was established in 1984 by Ross Deye and is a culmination of his own twenty years of competitive distance running and over thirty years of coaching high school boys and girls distance runners. His methods are strongly influenced by legendary coaches Arthur Lydiard of New Zealand and Bill Bowerman of University of Oregon fame.  The result is a twenty-week cycle, corresponding to spring track and fall cross country, that is designed to achieve a runner's optimal performances when it counts the most. NOTE: Training cycles from eight to 16 week increments are available for those not involved in spring track or fall cross country and are designed for racing from a 5k to a full marathon.

The simplicity of the training program is one of the main reasons it is so successful.  Athletes are able to follow the structured training with ease; no heart rate monitors or VO Max formulas to deal with.  All that is required is 1) a good pair of running shoes, 2) a watch with a timing mode, and 3) the desire to stick with a plan in order to race at your best. 

The training system is called PlanPeak ETC (Effort-Timed Conditioning) because the two main variables are the effort and time one puts in to their training on any given day.  Degrees of difficulty fall under one of four levels:  A = Easy, B = Regular, C = Semi-hard, D = Hard

 Training runs are measured in time as opposed to distance.  For coaches the benefit of time versus distance is in team management.  If you have a team of twenty boys and send them out for a six miler you could conceivably have twenty runners finishing at twenty different times.  Send them out on a 45 minute run and they all finish the same time. For individuals, many of whom do not have the luxury of a GPS device for training, a set run of sixty minutes is more manageable than an eight miler, especially if one is out-of-town and training in an unfamiliar place.

 The benefit of assigning A, B, C, or D days to daily training runs are vital to the success a runner training under the PlanPeak ETC system.  The ability to realize the balance between training hard to increase endurance and the easier days needed for recovery on a week to week basis cannot be overstressed.  While undertraining can impede one from reaching their potential overtraining can have the same effect.  The balance of what you do and when you do it is critical in reaching your peak performance by a certain date.

Within the twenty-week cycle of PlanPeak ETC for cc and track runners is a basic breakdown of four phases:

1) Eight weeks of typical even-paced runs most distance runners are accustomed to with a gradual buildup of distance covered and pace maintained.  Also introduced in this phase are mild speed play type runs and over-distance runs that are often referred to as LSD runs. (long-steady distance) Minimal racing should be done during this phase of training.

2) Six weeks of strength training that maintains the weekly amount one runs but includes longer repetitions and pacework to gradually prepare for your optimal performance.  Racing should be integrated into this phase.

3) Four weeks of strength/speed that gradually reduces the amount of running and increases the amount of racing.  Workouts emphasizing speed are included in this phase.

4) Two weeks of what is referred to as the peak phase of conditioning where one tapers back on the volume of training, implements workouts that don't overtax the body and races meant to be at an optimal level of conditioning.