Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Running: Developing My Training Philosophy

"The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, 
toughen the body, and polish the spirit." 
~Morihei Ueshiba

My half marathon is nearly here (this Saturday March 5th)  and so I can’t help but start to think back on my training.  I went about training for my half marathon much differently than I did my full marathon I completed last August.  When I was training for my full marathon, I followed the The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer plan as closely as possible.  I didn’t really know what I was doing and I needed a whole lot of structure to get me through the process and that plan did the trick. 

After that experience and lot’s and lot’s of reading training advise and looking at lot’s and lot’s of different training plans I thought I could wing it more or less for my half marathon training.  

I decided I wanted to start out with my weekly mileage around 20 miles a week or so and work up to 30 miles a week or maybe a little more depending on how I felt.  I thought it best for me to slowly build my weekly long run up to a max of 15 miles on Sundays and do a day of speed work on Wednesdays, these would be my hard days.  And then sprinkle in some 3 to 5 mile easy runs on 2 or 3 more days during the week. 

That was my plan, no prescribed distances every day, no split times worked out for my speed work, not a whole lot of structure. I just did it all depending on how I felt.

I really feel that this is the best approach for me going forward.  I will still focus on learning as much as I can and exposing myself to different ideas, and new training techniques but no set plans. I see myself just working off of an overall idea about weekly mileage, types of workouts to be done, frequency of ‘hard’ days etc… but ultimately take my training on a day to day basis. 

Traditional racing wisdom is to lay out all the details of the training plan weeks or months in advance.  I just can’t help but think I would be doomed to either push myself to hard and risk injury or not push myself enough and not meet my full potential this way. I can't possibly know how to best challenge my body in two months, so how can I schedule the details of those workouts now?  

I think if I were sticking to a pre-scheduled ‘expert’ plan I would feel more insecure, wondering if I did it right, or if I picked the right plan.  By choosing my training myself on a day to day basis, I can choose  the type of training that makes me feel secure and confident.  So at the very least this approach is giving me a psychological advantage. 

I know that I feel more secure (with some excited nerves) for my half on Saturday than I did going into the full marathon I completed in August so that's got to be worth something, right?

Have you ever trained for a race without a set plan?  How did that work out for you?

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