If you’re a bit OCD like me and enjoy planning things almost as much as doing them, then this post is for you. If you don’t ever plan and do ‘what feels right’ then this post is also for you, even if you don’t know it, you do need it.
If you have a particular race (or series of races in my case) that you are training for then you need a training plan. Without one you’ll train a lot less than you need to and without the variety of training needed to really be succesful. It keeps you motivated to train as you don’t want to miss sessions and makes sure you build in some speed sessions and hills etc into your routine. The vast majority of my training is done on my own, so I like to keep a record of exactly how much I have done and when (you see I told you I was OCD). This can also help you see the progress you have made if you tend to run the same routes fairly regularly.
I recently bought some running shoes from Sweatshop (who are thoroughly recommended by the way) and with it came a voucher for a free customised training plan from Full potential so I’ve been trying to follow that. Always good to get a new approach to training, but no matter what plan you follow I think there are a couple of key things that all training plans should have;
- Hills and speed sessions; this either involve various lengths of hill sprints for the hills session or a training session where you run at a number of different speeds. Both of these help train your body to run faster and also builds strength for any hills you may have during your race.
- Variety; there needs to be a real mix of sessions, even in a marathon training plan where mileage is important. Also make sure for any long runs that you have a variety of routes planned. It’s also worth trying to do these longer runs at roughly the same time of day as your race wherever possible.
- Not just running; I’d suggest getting at least one cross training session (cycling or swimming for example) into each week. Also never underestimate the importance of stretching.
This week I have been taking my own advice and I’ve managed the following:
- Monday – 4.5 mile easy pace run – 36
- Wednesday – 4x6mins at threshold pace with 2 mins race in between
- Friday – 25 min trail run with Bracken
- Saturday – 26 min trail run with Bracken
The only thing I need to do now is a few longer runs once a week and also a bit more stretching/cross training. Running with Bracken is great because it kills 2 birds with 1 stone and he NEVER runs out of energy which is useful in a training partner. Although it can make you feel very slow and unfit watching him trot by you.