Although running can be perceived as ‘plain and simple’, the difficulty comes when you tie up your shoes, step out the front door, and set off running. What are you going to do today? “I’ll just run” you think, but is that the best for your improvement.
Of course if you are a casual runner who runs because you love it, then it’s perfectly fine to run when you want, for however long you desire at the time. However, if you are running in order to train for something – a Parkrun, a charity race, a marathon etc, of you are running to get in shape, then the easiest way to do so is by planning out your week before hand.
When you do so, you know what you are doing every day; how long you are running for, how fast your run is going to be and the actual time of day you are going to run. This allows you to stay motivated during the day, as you know what to apprehend when your run comes about, and allows you to plan around your working day, making sure you have no excuse to miss your runs.
For example: me and my coach – Luke Gunn – plan out my weeks either on a Sunday evening, or the start of a specific training block which spans over a few weeks time frame. The typical week, would be laid out as such :
M – 4-6 mile tempo
T – am: 4 miles easy + core, pm: 8 miles easy
W – Track session
R – am: 4 miles easy + core, pm – 6-7 miles steady
F – Rest
S – am: tempo and hills (Session), pm: 4 miles very easy
S – 13-15 miles moderate
You see how simple it has to be? It is clear and concise, it does not include my warm up and cool down jogs pre/post sessions, but I know what my week consists of, so can plan my days; work and nutrition accordingly. It is good for a runner to know what they are doing before they step out the door, so they can concentrate on their runs and not worrying about the style of run they should do.
Even if your week is small and simple in terms of your running, it would still be a good habit to get into. If you are training for a particular event then it would be advisable to write out 4+ weeks of your training schedule ahead of time, so you know when to increase in frequency and intensity.
In addition, many runners who are struggling find improvement do not plan out their weeks, and when they finally do, they compare it to their previous schedule and are quick to discover as to why they were having difficulties. This is why runners who have coaches perform better than those who do not, because a large part of a coaches job is to plan their athletes week ahead of time, so the athlete can properly prepare for each run and session. Have a go, try it out for yourself, it will make your running even easier.