TiaRT: Training Plans (or not?)

This is the first day of the all new Take it and Run Thursday chez Runners’ Lounge. Make sure you drop by to check out Erin‘s topic for this week:

How do you decide how far to run? Do you base it on a training plan? On the route? Or on something else entirely?

I almost always follow a training plan. I like having a race(s) on the horizon to work towards so I feel like I’m running for a purpose. It keeps me focused and motivated. That being said, I generally follow training plans loosely. I schedule the long run and one day of speed work, then focus on overall weekly mileage and fill in the blanks. I like having some flexibility, but I typically have my week planned out on Monday.

At the moment I’m training with the marathon group at my local Running Room and we run together on Thursdays (speed work) and Sundays (long run). I’m more or less following the suggested training plan, with tweaks here and there to reach my own personal mileage goals and accommodate my schedule.

Some day I think I’d like to follow a more advanced training plan (like Pfitz?) once I have some more experience under my belt. I’m not ready to make the commitment just yet. 🙂

So, how do you train?


Yesterday I ran double recovery runs with a shorty at lunch and another after work – total 11K/6.8mi. I was hoping to give my legs a break after Tuesday’s hill repeats because we have a track workout with clinic tonight. We’ve been invited to use a local college (springy!) track, which will be an improvement over the gravel elementary school track I have used before. The workout is four or five 1600s and I am fully prepared to have my butt kicked.


Today is Amanda’s Birthday over at Run to Finish. Drop by to wish her a happy one and enter a sweet giveaway!


29 thoughts on “TiaRT: Training Plans (or not?)

  1. I hope I am the first to respond here. Truthfully, I have looked and read many different training plan. Believe it or not, I don't follow their training plan religiously. I do develop my own training plan in my head from what I have learned. I admit to this. I am afraid that I will end up having injuries if I follow the training plan religiously. I just kind of go with my flow with whatever I am comfortable with at my own pace.

  2. I am fortunate enough to run with 3 certified running coaches so I usually go by a plan that they provide. It can be pretty agressive but so far I have seen a lot of improvement.Can't believe you did two recovery run? I would have skipped the short one myself, so go you! Good luck tonight.

  3. I follow my plans much like you; loosely. This time around I ditched Pfitz since it just didn't work with half iron training, and I'm better for it as I was just getting discouraged when I couldn't keep up with the program. Have fun at the track tonight, thats an aggressive track workout, but you will do fine!

  4. I would love to do 10K+ runs during the week, as most training plans call for, but time doesn't allow me to. 4 days a week is the MAX number of days I will run because I refuse to give up strength training.

  5. i'm struggling with a training plan right now with tri/HM training. i'll be posting about that soon 🙂 Great job on the double run yesterday, have fun on the springy track! 😀

  6. I really hope you have a good time at the "springy" track tonight! I think you will realy enjoy it over the gravel! This is the first year I have really followed a training plan for running – usually I just make it up as I go.

  7. That speed workout sounds scary. ;o)Nice job on the double. I was planning one on Tuesday, so that I could take Wednesday off, but the kids didn't cooperate. Oh well. Such is the life of a mom LOL.MCM Mama

  8. I never run with a plan, so I'm no help. Saturday or Sunday is usally a brick workout or a long run, and Wednesday is usually a longish run too. Otherwise it's whatever I'm in the mood to do or have time to do. I have so much respect for people who follow plans because I could never been that regimented.

  9. I'm with you…I like having a plan. It's sort of hard having a coach cause I only get my schedule the day before that week starts. I would like to see it all planned out!

  10. I love to follow some sort of training schedule, even when I don't have a particular race in mind, but maybe a goal? After this weekend, I will be done with tri season and the weather will slowly start to get colder. I am going to have some set goals for the next few months, hopes of becoming stronger to start HM training after the new year. With spending a lot of time in the pool and on the bike, I like to combine schedules to my liking. In a couple weeks I will start this schedule, consisting of 3 runs; a long run, a speed session, and then just a 30-45 minute run. I will throw in swimming and biking when I can and plan to do some strength training 2-3 times per week, along with my Tri Power workouts.

  11. i think the group you run with is a perfect way to train without a plan. they suggested a plan? like it's written on paper or it's just general do these things each week? your blog also helps you track everything.

  12. Previously, I used to loosely follow existing training plans too much like you. But this year I'm working with a coach who is designing my training week to week. I haven't the foggiest idea what I'm doing next week but must say it's really nice to be able to focus on one week at a time and not worry about training with others who may be going different distances and paces (a problem I've had in the past).

  13. Great post, Marlene! For me I need a goal race for motivation. I follow a training program that is somewhat flexible, although it is structured to get in the miles. Like you I try to work in at least two hard work outs, long run, track.

  14. I have a running plan and from there I work my other stuff around it.Except when I have a big something else on the horizon (like half-century) – when that happens I have a something else plan and work my running around it.

  15. I"m a random runner. Some days I have a lot to think about, therefore I run longer and harder, and some days I'm short on time and just want to get the most out of my time so I do sprint work outs. When it came to the half marathon I would run 4-5 milers twice a week and then one long run and felt GREAT about that. If I had an edgy day and NEEDED to run just to burn energy or steam, I would throw in a three mile sprint work out.So as you can see, I'm very very random, but I think I prefer that because then I can't psyche myself out!

  16. oh i neeeed a training plan. once (in between races) i tried going sans-plan and uhhh never ran 🙂 so whether i have a current goal race or not, i have to be on some sort of plan! sometimes they are 'official' plans (with speed workouts in them) and sometimes it's just me mapping out mileage for the week.

  17. i am definitely a training plan girl… although this time i have been much looser with it. when i was training for eugene i think i did everything exactly by the book – maybe this way will be the key 🙂

  18. I never followed a set plan while training for the half marathon (my longest race yet). I found that with the right knowledge you can develop your own plan. With that being said, I am considering joining a group while training for the Disney Marathon which may put me on a plan.Until then, My decision on how far to run is based on a couple of things.1. weather2. amount of free time to run ( I often don't have a fixed schedule)I ALWAYS have at least 1 day a week where my schedule and the weather cooperate to fit in a long run.I have always attempted to take just 1 day off per week– SO I always find time to run at least 4 miles– it's the long runs that are the hardest to plan though.

  19. I followed a plan from Hal Higdon (online) and then ended up modifying it to fit with my school and work schedules by switching some days (like not having a long run when teaching aerobics all morning and afternoon). What I liked about his plans is that he explains why certain days of the week have certain mileage so that you understand the logic and then if you change the plan you can keep the same logic.

  20. No plans for me, mostly improvisation unless I copy one of your workouts at the track :)While I do try to squeeze in some speed work here and there, I mostly run (bike and swim) at what feels right, adjusting the pace and distance on the spot…

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