Why I Generally Ignore Training Plans

Often times, when I sign up for a race, I get urge to find a training plan. I have never successfully completed a training plan and have given up on the pre-made ones for the following reasons.
  1. Psyched Up For A Second - When you first find a training plan you are excited. You think, "This is what will lead me to my dreams and goals." But after a week goes by, and you have a day that you can't fit a run into and you get bummed. Really bummed. Your training plan looks like another obstacle to traverse. This leads to many days of beating yourself up as you fall short of your scheduled plan. And that's no bueno. 
  2. Because I'm Always Available - Training plans assume a lot. Perfect health, that you don't have a social life, and that you don't like to do things spontaneously. When you have a 10 mile day, but only really have 45 mins to run, for some reason it's easier to scrap the whole day then to just do what you can in that 45 minute window.  Do the 45 minute run, your training plan isn't going to yell at you for going against it, it's just a piece of paper.  Be aware of the inner critic who is talking down to you in these moments.  Choose to ignore that voice.
  3. Put Me In Coach - Many training plans are based off of High School and Collegiate running programs and mentalities. Five days of hard running is just too much for those of us who aren't in college or High School. Interval training? Now we are adding a lot of complexity for guy or gal who is just trying to get in shape and have fun with running.
I've gotten really burnt out trying to follow programs. If you are just starting out, make a goal to run or run/walk for 3ish times a week for about a half hour each time. If you can't run the whole time, that's fine, you will work up to it. You want a plan that empowers you and makes you think, "Ok, I can do this!"

After some experience and understanding of yourself as a runner, make your own training plan. Modify ones you find on the internet and understand that it's just a guideline to help you run, it's not the end all Biblical truth. Running should be enjoyable and challenging. You will be more likely to follow a plan that reflects more fun.


  1. I completely agree about making your own plan. With a little self-knowledge and an off-the-shelf training plan as a guide, you'll come up with your very own customized plan. Having that plan down on paper has motivated me more than once to go out for a run instead of plopping down on the couch.

    1. Self-knowledge definitely makes it easier to create realistic goals. Just another thought, go ahead and schedule couch time on your training plan so you don't feel guilty when you do want to relax.

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