Training Plans - A Help or a Hindrance

Should you follow a Training Plan?

If you ever ask a “running expert” either online or in person, for a half or full marathon training plan and they give you one immediately without asking you any questions and with the guarantee that it will help you break your PB or finish under a certain time, then walk away and find yourself another “expert.”

It is impossible to give a runner you have never met or know anything about, an accurate training plan for a race. There are so many social, physical and genetic variables associated with every runner, so to confidently suggest that a specific training plan will guarantee them success is quite simply arrogant and / or wrong.

With every generic training plan I have written for magazines or my books, I have always stressed that each plan should be followed with a great deal of caution and be adapted to suit every runners’ ability and the time they have available to train. In an ideal world, before I could even begin to write a training plan, these are just a few of the questions I would need answered before I could start drafting up a training timetable:

  • What’s your exercise history
  • Do you have any injuries/ have you had any operations
  • How heavy are you?
  • What are your aspirations?
  • Are you competitive?
  • What is your resting heart rate?
  • Do you have work / family commitments?
  • How many sessions can you run a week?

We are all Individuals

Whatever training plan you see in a book or magazine, there are always going to be people out there who will find it far too easy and ineffective and others who will find it way too hard and end up a cropper trying to follow every session to the letter.

In my books, I spend several pages, if not chapters, educating runners of all abilities the how’s and why’s of training, thereby giving them the knowledge of how to best utilise my (or any) training plans and personalise them to match their needs, lifestyles and abilities.

By developing a good knowledge about how to encourage YOUR body to adapt to endurance training, you will be far better placed to look at any training plan you see on the internet and decide for yourself if it is going to suit your physiology, your diary and ultimately you race aspirations.

All my running books “The Marathon and Half Marathon: A Training Guide” “5k and 10k: From Start to Finish” and “Trail Running” are available on Amazon.

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