How I Train

This week’s Monday Brain Exchange question is:
How do you train? Do you use a schedule, have a coach or go with the flow? Do you train alone or with group?

In the past I have trained with a schedule and I’ve stuck to that very precisely. My first marathon training plan came from a website. My second marathon training plan came from my Team in Training coaches. My third marathon training plan was a loose adaptation of the Team in Training plan. I was very obedient at sticking to those plans, regardless of how I felt. I was going to get that day’s prescribed workout in if it killed me! (See: Running Evolution)

Right now I’m going with the flow a little more, usually setting an arbitrary mileage goal for each week and running to hit that number. But if I’m feeling tired or overscheduled, I don’t let that get me down and recognize that I can take a day off. Or at least I try to not let it get me down… sometimes I am definitely my own biggest critic. (Okay, I’m always my own biggest critic, I can’t imagine that other people would be as mean to me as I am to myself at times… but that’s a WHOLE other topic!)

If I had a set event that I was gearing up for, I would definitely create a schedule to get to my goal. Since I am certified as a running coach I guess in a way I am my own coach… but there are times when I need a little help because I’m not always good at being objective when it comes to looking at myself. On those days I refer to my friend Jimmy and ask for his advice. (Usually it comes in the form of, “I’m so tired today…” or “It’s super windy outside, convince me to run or to not run.”)

The majority of my training is probably done alone. I do run at Fleet Feet on Tuesday nights which is always fun as well as running on Saturdays with my Team Challenge group. On the occasions that I get out to run with friends on other days of the week it really does help to invigorate me, but that doesn’t always happen. So when I run by myself I often choose to listen to audiobooks or podcasts. Since I’ve been telecommuting for nearly 5 years now, I find that I crave the sound of other people’s voices because I’m alone all day. So running with spoken word helps me feel a little less alone!

Where do you guys get your training plans? Or do you go with the flow too? I must admit, right now I’m enjoying making my schedule up as I go!


  1. I’m like you in that I trust myself at this point with my training. I have used “canned” plans in the past but always ended up changing so much of the plan to cater to me that it never really looked like the same plan I started out with. After being formally coached last summer I’ve come to realize which workouts work best for which distance, how to go about them, which runs (easy, recovery, speed, long) to do and when, pacing, you name it. I suppose the coaching helped me gain confidence to trust myself above all else. Depending on the race I”m training for I target a mileage ceiling I’d like to hit and then work backwards from there; How many weeks do I want to train? How do I want the mileage to progress? After that I start adding in my key workouts for each week and finally figure out the other distances to run that week. I don’t think that the plans I create for myself look that much different from other plans out there but I build it for me and then make changes wherever and whenever necessary.

  2. I”m a newbie and training with the Couch to 5K program. My first 5k is in May, 24 days away exactly, and once I finish there I’m going to start the Higdon half marathon training schedule. I hope to run the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half in December. Its 2 days before my birthday and since I’ve never been there, it’s the best time to go. 🙂 Once I get past the 5K in May I plan to participate in the group runs here in town, I’m a little intimidated by it right now.

  3. Except for my forrest gump/track sessions, I have been running a lot on my own. I used to run with people on Saturday mornings but they’ve now trained for two marathons back to back and I’m just not into that now. I, too, am enjoying just going with the flow and changing it up week to week. I think I’m happy just doing the shorter races, because it allows me more flexibility in my life.

    My brother has given me some advice on how to run some of my runs, but usually I am just going with my how my body feels. If I’m out on a run, and I feel I need to walkl for a few steps, I do. The world won’t come to an end.

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