What type of training plan do you work from? As runners gain more experience many shift to a cloud plan where there is no hardcopy or physical paper plan. The only plan is in their own head. I have done this and had great success. I have also had written plans and had great success.
Having a plan is critical for less experienced runners because it gives them a map to follow to get to their goal. It puts in place incremental steps that are more likely to avoid injury than just running. It keeps them accountable while they are reaching new goals. You also get to check off each box as you complete each workout which is quiet satisfying. You could even use a gold star or other sticker if you would like.
Another thing you can do with a hardcopy is create a line below each week that allows you to put in comments after each workout. This makes your training plan your training log as well. Keeping notes about how you feel and anything else you think might be important in the future, is very helpful the longer you run.
You can go back and look at what you have done in the past and then create new plans using that information. You may find that you get the most adaptation when you do hills rather than speed work. You may find that you really only need to do back to back long runs every other weekend to get the same benefits come race day.
The one thing you want to be aware of when you have a hardcopy plan is that it is still adjustable. If you feel like you are stretching yourself too thin or a certain workout is needs to move to a different day once or even permanently do it. Don’t be afraid to adjust things. You want to keep all the same elements and the progression but workouts can move around.
When you are using a cloud training plan, you are basically working off your experience as a runner and creating the plan as you go. This gives you a huge amount of flexibility. The biggest drawback, is you may not remember what you did when you are successful or feel that it was a great training block or you may not remember what you did when you found yourself injured.
Cloud training plans still follow a basic outline or structure. The runner knows what types of workouts need to be completed for the week. They have them planned out in the mind early in the week and then make it happen from there.
I have used both types of plans and had a lot of success. It is very freeing to use a cloud plan. It is also very satisfying to check off boxes and to not have to constantly make decisions about what to do each run or each week. It’s all there. You have all the elements required to be successful.
What type of runner are you?
Happy Healthy Running!