Throughout the years I always get asked who makes my training plans. I’ve made most of mine myself and I find that when you take the time to make them yourself with a little bit of knowledge, they fit better to your lifestyle and goals. I know that I get burned out on following a training plan easily. I don’t know why but I get so overwhelmed and start getting a negative feeling towards running. I skip one run, then another, then another, then feel so far ‘behind’ that I cannot make it back up and get even more frustrated. I’ve found a few things that help me when making a training plan and I hope they can help you too!
1. Be specific with your goals. What are they? Do you want to run longer? Do you want to get faster? Run injury free? Run happy? Once I usually figure out my goal for my race, I start putting in my workouts on my calendar. For me, usually my goal is to stay happy and make each workout count. I don’t over do it when it comes to working out because I know I’ll end up hating running, which is not how I want to feel. To keep me happy when in a training cycle I can only run 3-4 days a week. If I ‘have’ to run more, I start getting really tired of running. This way I can still enjoy running and look forward to it because I’m not having to fit in a run every day. When I’m not running as a part of a plan, I can run 4-5 days a week with no problem. I don’t know why my mindset changes in a training plan, but it just does and I’ve come to realize that and now I make sure not to over do it.
2. Make a reasonable schedule. Think about what you do currently. If you’re running 7 days a week, you can put in 5 solid training days, no problem. If you can barely fit in 3 workouts a week, make those 3 workouts count towards something by doing speedwork and make sure you don’t miss a run. Personally, it’s hard for me to fit in running while I coach. Even though I usually can run with the team during Cross Country, track season is much more difficult. Also, all our meets are our Saturdays, so I have to take that into account too. When planning your schedule, look at the holidays, birthdays, and vacations you might have coming up. Don’t plan a long run when you know you won’t be able to do it. Change it to another day so when it comes you won’t be struggling to get it done or feel guilty for not being able to do it.
3. Always do a warm up and cool down! I truly feel that this is what helped me run better when training for Mountains to Beach. I’d never run this way before and it really helped me nail my faster workouts and get in mileage at the same time. It helps to get myself ‘ready’ to run and tell myself I only have to ‘push myself’ for X amount of miles. When you’re planning your workout, start with a 1 to 2 mile warm up and then do some faster miles or a ladder at the track, then end with a mile cool down.
At the end of the day, DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU! It’s easy to compare yourself to fellow runners and feel like you’re not good enough but running is all about YOU! I’ve see so many training plans that people follow that make them burned out on running. If you are feeling run down, take a rest day. Find out what makes you run the best and do it. Google can be your best friend when making a training plan and don’t feel like you can’t make up your own plan. I love tweaking and working off of a bunch of plans I find online. Adding in fun workouts that are different, or new to me keep things fresh. I usually ask a few fellow runners to look over my plan to see how it looks to them and they always offer their support and a few suggestions as well. It’s so important to remember that running is all about YOU so making a plan that it tailored to your goals and needs will allow you to run happy and healthy.