Thursday, January 8, 2009

Training Do's and Don'ts

I'm probably not a great role model for trainings plans because I'm not a very organized trainer. I've talked about my lack of organization before. When I do training plans, they tend to be more broad sweeps and less specific day-by-day activities.

For instance, when I trained for my marathon, I knew that I had to do a 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 mile run in consecutive weekends and then everything else pretty much fell into place as I had the time, energy or interest. I didn't have specific day-by-day activities or distances. I didn't do speed workouts one day and pace workouts another. Like Marlene, it just takes all of the fun out of it for me.

Would I have finished the marathon in a better time if I had been more disciplined when I was training? Maybe. But I'm not even sure I accept the premise (of my own question, no less). If I had stayed more disciplined, I may have never gotten to the starting line because I would have been too bored with it. I need fun and variety, and a training plan with day-by-day activities gives me neither.

So, since I feel like I should make a list, here goes:

  • Make your plan personal to you. You can use a Hal Higdon or someone else's plan to start, but this has to be your plan for it to work.
  • Be OK with an organized or disorganized training regimen. Not everyone has to be organized to be successful.
  • Give yourself a break if other things happen and you miss a day. It happens and it won't throw off your training.
  • Make it fun. If it's not fun, you won't stick with it.
  • Try to work in cross-training with weights, biking, swimming, etc.
  • Eat right. Get plenty of protein.
  • Share your training with your friends and RBF's. The more people you tell, the less likely you'll be to stop doing it.
  • Think that you have to train as much as other people who are running the same race.
  • Be afraid that one missed day will throw off your training.
  • Start out too fast. Work up to training, especially if it's distance training.

This was written as part of the Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday.


Mel-2nd Chances said...

one thing i've learned about myself and about running is that it is totally individual. What works for one won't necessarily work for me. It's hard to remind myself of that sometimes. Your list of do's and don'ts is a good one!

Marlene said...

Well, I can see you remember my stance on training plans. :) I agree with all of your do's and don't's. Great post!

No Longer Using said...

i like the idea to personalize a training program! :)

Susan said...

I agree with these!

Petraruns said...

I agree that it's so different for different people. I like the structure of a schedule though - even though I don't always stick to all of it.. After a while you kind of gain more confidence in what works for you and that's what you've got to go with. And the protein thing is a recent discovery for me - very important!

ShirleyPerly said...

I can definitely relate with you on training in a way that suits you best. A lot of people think the way I train on my own is quite haphazard but I like the flexibility and I've done pretty well so far, IMO. We'll see if having a more regimented training program will work for me next year as I will have a coach specifying workouts for me. It'll be an experiment for sure.

CewTwo said...

I think that it is part of realizing that you are a runner and that you can control your training.
You set up your events. You know what you like and you have a good idea of what you're capable of.

Training schedules don't include family, friends or other obligations; when you design your own, all off that can be handled!

I think that you're right. Flexibility is the key for me!