If someone asked you to design your own skydiving training plan, would you do it? You could read up on it, watch a few youtube videos, practise with a king size duvet cover, it’d be fine… wouldn’t it? Obviously the worst case scenario when training yourself to skydive is quite a lot worse than training yourself to run a marathon (or another big race)! However, having some expert guidance to prepare you and lead you up to the big day will make it more likely to be a success. Still not convinced about whether it’s worth being answerable to a calendar? Read on for more persuasion:
You’ll Be Much Less Nervous On Race Day Knowing Your Training Was Right
Training plans vary depending on the goal and the experience of the athlete, but all of them will have worked with similar runners before. It wouldn’t be a half marathon training plan if it didn’t get you through a half marathon.
The Training Plan Will Tell You When To Change Your Pace And How Quickly, Or Slowly, To Go
Have a look at this blog about running training paces. There is a time and a place for each of these and your training schedule will tell you when that is.
You Don’t Have To Remember The Rules And When You Can Make An Exception
You shouldn’t generally increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%, although on some occasions up to 20% is ok, as a one off. Your long run should generally be no more than 40% of your total weekly miles, although there are weeks when it can be up to 50%. Some weeks should be easy weeks where you drop your mileage back. Your training plan will incorporate all of this.
You Don’t Have To Plan In The Macro Cycle, Meso Cycles And Micro Cycles
No, they’re not new releases from Halfords, they’re the various different lengths of phase training can be split into: micro cycles is a short block of training (anywhere between 3 and 10 days); macro cycles are groups of meso cycles which angle towards a particular goal for that block, eg building an endurance base; the macro cycle is the overall plan towards one large goal. If you have a training plan, you can forget all of this theory – unless you’re also trying to learn Greek, when the vocab comes in handy.
You Don’t Have To Stick To It Rigidly
If a desire for flexibility is why you want to go it alone, then don’t throw the plan in the bin just yet. If the training plan tells you to do your long run on Sunday but you’re planning a Prosecco binge on Saturday night, then switch your long run to Saturday. As long as you’re completing the weekly sessions and having the right number of days off in between, then feel free to adapt the plan and make it work for you.
It Makes The Route To Your Goal Visible
Put your plan on the wall or fridge and tick off the runs as you do them. You’ll be far less likely to miss a run. (Although if you’re injured or ill then you shouldn’t feel bad about missing them).
You Might As Well Save Time And Do It Now
A lot of new runners go out for that first jog, build up the mileage and enter a race, it goes ok, they do another one, that goes the same, they do another, they run another similar time, then they think ‘I wonder if my training is right?’, they look online, see a training plan and think ‘oh, that looks better than what I’m doing’. Do it sooner, as, unless you’re extremely stubborn, you’ll probably do it later anyway.
All professionally written training plans have worked for runners before. They’ll give you confidence that your training is suitable to your goal
Training plans will tell you when to do speedwork, when to take runs slowly and when to rest – all vital parts of any training schedule
Choose a training plan with a challenging but realistic goal for your target race. If you’re not sure whether the goal is challenging and realistic, then look at the first week of the plan, does it seem like a tough but manageable week? If it does, then it’s the right one
Don’t be afraid to adapt the training plan to suit your life outside running – just make sure you complete the weekly runs and have the right number of rest days in between them
Put your training plan somewhere visible and tick off the runs as you do them
If a personalised training plan takes your fancy, read Sarah’s story; 3 PB’s in 3 Weeks!
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