Hardcopy or in the Cloud?

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!

Overwhelmed by Training?

recovery

As a beginning runner it can be overwhelming when you stare down at your first training program regardless of the distance you are training for.

When you are returning to running after an extended break, you have an advantage over those who are just getting into the sport. You at least know what you are getting into, and you know what it takes to get to where you were before your break.

Even with this knowledge, and sometimes because of this, training can be overwhelming.

A friend of mine recently contacted me about getting back into running after having a baby. She was running consistently prior to getting pregnant and the birth of her daughter. But, having a little one who needs you much of the time makes running or exercising in any way more difficult.

Her goal is to run a 50 miler one year from now. This is an entirely achievable goal. It will take the entire year for her to get there with the lowest risk for an injury. She will have to follow the golden rules of running: 1. never increase your weekly miles by more than 10% and 2. Reduce your miles by 20% every fourth week to allow your body to recover and gain strength.

How do you get going without feeling like you will never reach your goal?

Use a calendar and track your progress. Small progress and improvements, are still improvements. Breaking your training down into smaller bites such as week by week, makes it seem more manageable.

If you post your training program where you can see it everyday (my recommendation to stay motivated and accountable) don’t post the entire thing. Just hang up one or two weeks and then check off each day as you knock them out.

Beginning runners should start with a shorter distance such as a 5k or 10k. Completing shorter distances with more manageable training programs builds confidence in your ability. It is also easier to find 5k and 10k races. Participating in events every three months helps keep you motivated and training.

A couch to 5k training program can be anywhere from eight to twelve weeks depending on your fitness level when you start. It’s easy to overestimate our ability to run, so start easier than you think and then increase the difficulty and distance once you have a better understanding of what your body is able to do.

The other thing I recommend to new or returning runners be gentle with yourself. You’re going to have set backs, even elite runners have bad days. We are more harsh with ourselves than anyone else is.

Keep things small, set goals, track progress, and be gentle with yourself.