In the past, I would spend countless hours agonizing over my training plans, trying to build the perfect structure to guide my fitness up and away to the outermost limits of my potential. I would meticulously plan a progression of workouts designed to gradually increase the workload, always with the intent of running a personal best at the end of the season. It was challenging, but I also enjoyed the satisfaction of creating what I considered the perfect training plan.
Of course, more often than not, this plan would need to be changed as soon as I missed a workout, or got hurt, and by the end of the season, my actual workouts would look nothing like what I had penciled in at the beginning. But that’s ok, because plans are supposed to be malleable and adaptable. Still, this would require me to spend even more time coming up with the perfect replacement plan.
Now that I am no longer trying to run my best, I no longer feel the need to have a concrete, specific training plan. In fact, I spent about 30 seconds total creating my training plan for this year. It can be summarized as follows:
Every week: run five days, run faster two of those days, and run longer once, and do some strength training a few times.
That’s it. I have been lucky in that my primary training buddy, Mark Streb, is similarly laid-back about his training, so we have often started a run together asking “So, want to run faster today?” and then using the warmup to decide on exactly what we feel like doing that day.
It’s nice having this flexibility and not worrying about whether I will feel ready to hit a certain workout on a particular day. And while this might not be “optimal” training, I feel it is sufficient to keep me in “pretty good” shape, which is all I really want right now. We will see just what that means in terms of performance on March 16th at the Running of the Green 5-miler. Last year I was disappointed that I only ran 28:18. This year, I will be happy with anything under 30 minutes. What a difference one year makes!