Thursday, June 6, 2013

Planning a Plan

Today was definitely all about sticking to the training plan. This morning called for a 4 mile easy run, and boy let me tell you I did not want to wake up for it. The reason I did is because the weather calls for rain the rest of the week, and I've been doing so well sticking to the designated workout for every day and not switching days around this week. So off I went. It was actually pretty comfortable weather this morning. Overcast, mid 50s and a slight breeze. It was definitely one of those runs where I just did it to get it done. Today's run was a chore, which sometimes happens.
I may always sound gung-ho for running, but I have days where my motivation is in hiding. The above to-do list is what I want to be doing today. Unfortunately I actually have things I need to be doing.

Anyways, since this mornings run was all about sticking to the training plan, I thought I'd share mine with you and my thought process when I make a training plan.
If you click on the picture of it, it should get bigger so you can read it easier. Right now, obviously, I'm on Thursday of week 7. I love having a schedule to look at and cross things off of. I have two copies of this printed off (not color coded, I added color to make it easier to read). One copy is taped to my bedroom wall right by the door so I see it every time I wake up. For that one I highlight the workout once it's done. It's slowly turning blue :) The second copy I keep in my planner and cross off as I go. I don't know why, but I just really love crossing things off lists.

To decipher the plan, WTS means weights, MLG is mileage which means just a run to go out and run. It can be hard, easy, hilly, whatever, just get some miles in for the day. FLEX means flexibility, or do some extra stretching that day. LSD is not drugs, contrary to what one might think (although it would make the run much more interesting). It's actually my long slow distance. HLL is hills, XT is cross training (any cardio besides running- for mileage counts 10 minutes of XT is equivalent to 1 mile). PIL is Pilates or yoga so that I am forced to get even more flexibility in. EZ, well that just means easy. And finally, Sundays are my rest days.

To make a training schedule, I first figure out where I'm at. How far can I go on a regular basis, and what is a distance that is challenging, but doable for me? How many days a week do I want cross training in there? Do I want to plan my weight sessions or just do them sporadically and hope I get them in? Will I stretch on my own or should I plan that too? This training schedule I decided to plan absolutely everything.

I pick what I want to do: 4 days of running, 3 days of weights, 2 days of cross training, some Pilates/stretching, and a necessary rest day. For my running I wanted 1 hill session, 1 speed session, an easy run and my long run. Next I figure out how many weeks I have to get to my goal or race. I gradually build the mileage and have every few weeks be easier to allow my body to recover so I can continue to build up my distances. Each week should only add about 10% more mileage than the previous week or two, hence the slow but steady increase in my weekly mileage. This is the rule of thumb to avoid injury and safely get your running where you want it.

And that's it, really! As race day approaches, I taper off the mileage the week or two before to allow my body to recover so that it is it's best condition for the event. And of course, I remind myself to stay hydrated as the race draws closer. I also try and put workouts on days that are convenient. Saturdays are the only days where I have time to do a longer run. Thursdays I'm usually getting tired from the work week and have low motivation (like today) so I only have one thing planned because it makes me more likely to do it. I love speedwork, so it's on Wednesday, another low motivation day. Mondays get hills because it follows my rest day and I usually have the most motivation at the beginning of the week.

All in all, it's pretty meticulous and everything is what it is for a specific reason. I even have the weekend of my 21st birthday as a cutback week of less mileage so I can spend more time doing fun activities :) If you have any questions or want me to design you a training plan, let me know!

In the meantime, I have some questions for you! Do you follow a training plan, or do you wing it? Did you buy your schedule or did you make it yourself? What day do you have the least motivation on? The most?

Thanks for reading! I know it was a long and pretty technical post today.
Safe and happy running!


  1. I read your blog each day - love it :)

    I am currently using the Marathon Training Plan for Recreational Runners from Running Planet... Based on my fitness level, it was the right plan for me. I have been running 5 days a week since January 6th, and I have not missed a day on the training schedule. A couple of days I had to rotate my rest days with a run day, but i am ok with that :)

    I color code my runs with green for good, yellow for not so good, and red for missed. On my log, I have no red, and only a handful of yellows. !!!

    Thanks for posting


    1. That's an awesome way to keep track of training. I never thought to color code the runs like that! I might just steal that method.
      And you're training for a marathon? How cool is that?! I'm still intimidated by the 26.2, and I'm not sure if I'll ever have the desire to go that far. I certainly admire marathoners. That's one heaping pot of dedication.

      Thanks for reading :) I was wondering if I was talking to myself in these posts! (But if I was I'd be the only one who knew... :)

  2. I may use your psychology degree to get me through the next 2 weeks - the Marathon is scheduled for June 22 :)