The cliche saying goes that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
But what happens when your plan is failing?
There is so much variation that goes in to a program working or failing, however there are a few variables that are of the utmost importance. Below are some reasons your schedule may not be working out, and what can be done about it.
There is no Schedule
If you’re serious about improvement, you must be on some type of plan.
They keep you accountable, they give you focus, and hopefully give you a track to follow.
Plans can be as short as one week that repeats. This may look like a regular track workout on Wednesday with a local club and a weekend longer and/or harder run, with easy running on the other days. Plans can be as long as a 20 week perfectly progressive program building up in specificity towards a big marathon. Each of these are at least giving you some type of important accountability and focus.
There is no Focus
The week format above may be better than no format, but it’s not ideal.
Make it a goal to have a strong focus on one goal at a time.
Ideally you have a singular focus for a training block, but don’t hesitate to have goals fluctuate over the course of a year.
My best running summer of running to date was after a spring focused on the 5k, a mile focused winter, and a summer/fall half marathon block. Three to four months focused on a primary goal will be sufficient time to really develop it, but typically not long enough to hit a plateau.
You Keep Switching it Up
Remember what I said above about the prologue to my best summer of running?
I tried something new thing time around, and it didn’t pan out quite as well.
Here I found something that worked well, and I went ahead and changed it.
Shame on me.
Hanson Brothers, Higdon, Maffetone, Lydiard. They all work. Find a method, schedule, philosophy, and don’t only go through it once. No, go through it 3 to 5 times and make slight modifications to personalize it.
You Follow it, it Doesn’t Follow You
As a coach, I like to say that the plan should follow the athlete, not the other way around.
While following the plan is good, you need to practice some authority and be willing to change it as needs arise. This is that personalization that I spoke about above. I’m primarily talking about recovery, here.
Anyone can do killer track workouts and great long tempo runs, but recovery is such an incredibly personal variable. Never be afraid to take an extra easy day before a hard workout if you feel the need. Those easy days are when we get stronger!
- Be mindful of your:
- General Daily Mood
- Soft Tissue Soreness
- Sleep Duration & Quality
- General Daily Fatigue
- Overal Stress Levels
If you really want to be aware of these, get a paper log and daily track these with a 1-5 or 10 ranking. Look for trends and patters, find out what’s causing the increases and decreases.
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