Do you have a running goal in mind? Could it be to finish your first 5K, complete a Marathon, drop time off your PR or simply improve your fitness? Whatever your goal is, there are a few good reasons why a Running Plan is essential to achieving your goal.
It’s just like a lot of goals in life. Think of a New Year’s Resolution or the goal to save “x” amount of money to buy a big ticket item. Chances are that if you set a goal and don’t make a plan to put it into action it will simply fall by the wayside and never happen. It’s like saying “I would like to lose 10lbs” and then continue eating your hamburger and french fries because your healthy eating starts tomorrow. Then repeat the exact same thing next week because you didn’t take the time to implement a plan of action. If this type of pattern sounds familiar you owe it to yourself to at least give your goal a real honest effort.
Great things don’t come easy, but they are well worth the endeavor.
So how does this relate back to running? Well, running isn’t easy. Especially if you are just getting into the sport or simply trying to jump from a 5K distance to a Half Marathon. Running requires patience, discipline and determination. Now don’t let that scare you because you may simply be unaware that you posses these qualities. Trying something new and having the assistance of a plan to follow or even a coach can help show you what you are capable of.
- Patience: You can’t simply run 6 miles if you’re only running 2 miles at the moment. You have to build slowly.
- Discipline: Some days you may feel like laying on the couch instead of completing your run for the day. Finding a way to keep you going is a key part of your plan.
- Determination: You have a purpose to your madness. There is a reason you get out of bed early or run even when it’s raining. Your goal is more important then your excuse.
What should you look for in a Running Plan? It’s not just about how many miles you cover each week, it’s also the specific workouts like hills, intervals, fartleks and negative splits. Of course, if you’re going from zero to 5K those types of workouts will come later once you build a base of running 2-3 miles at a time. When you are looking for a good running plan to use make sure it has these points:
- A week by week guide as to what running workouts you should complete along with adequate rest. If you’re being told to run hard and long 7 days a week be sure to move on before you find yourself injured.
- The flexibility to exercise when it best suites your own schedule. If a plan states that you must run in the morning but you are most likely to do it in the evening make sure you have the flexibility to change this.
- Access to a Running Coach. When you find a prepared Running Plan to use online it doesn’t mean that you won’t have a question or two about it. Be sure there is a way to reach out directly to the coach that created the plan.
- Avoid the “Cross Training” trap. If the plan simply states to cross train and doesn’t give you any specifics, it’s an incomplete Running Plan. Strength training is very important to do alongside your running workouts and you should have a step by step guide even for those “cross training” days.
Take some time and find the right plan for you. And if you’re unsure where to start feel free to contact me to guide you in the right direction.