Today's Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday topic is "Training Plans Do's and Don'ts." While I am still technically a newbie to all of this, I do have an opinion on it (as I do everything else). First, I need a training plan. Without one, I feel like I am clueless, without any direction. When I am not working toward a race with a specific plan at my desk or on my fridge, I don't know how far I should run (or when or even if I should run). Left to my own devices, I would probably run three miles every time during the week and eight on Sunday. I definitely wouldn't have woken up at 5:15 a.m. yesterday morning to do a five mile tempo run. I wouldn't even know where to start with speed work.
Right now I am mostly using the Runner's World Smart Coach half marathon plan using my 5K time to give me pace goals. I also printed up Hal Higdon's Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan as an additional resource. I figure between the two of them, I'll find what works for me. Plans are a guide for me, not the law. I know that other people do better when following the plans exactly. When we were training for the marathon, it was really important to Laura to get in all the mileage our plan called for in a given week. She would make special efforts to run that extra mile or two so that our totals were correct each week. Me, I sometimes cut out a mile or two and figured I would make it up with a good Stroller Strides workout. Toward the end of the marathon training, a couple of us cut out a short Friday run to avoid burnout and injury.
I plan on training smarter this next marathon. Last year, it was all about building endurance and having the confidence to get to the starting line. This time, we will build skill and strength as well as endurance. I am a few weeks from starting. I'll use a combination of Higdon, Runner's World and some workouts from Brain Training for Runners develop our plan. Even after we develop our training plan, we'll change it as needed as we go along.