Middletown Athletic Club

(serving the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend, Delaware Running Community since 2002)

"That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is."  - Kara Goucher

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  • Thoughts on the Run - "Devising a training plan, part 1" by Andrew Shearer

Thoughts on the Run - "Devising a training plan, part 1" by Andrew Shearer

February 07, 2023 6:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

During one of my recent insomniac nights, I did what you’re advised not to do… I turned on the computer and lit up my brain even more.  Well, I wasn’t being productive at being sleepy, so I might as well be productive WHILE I was sleepy.   

I came across a power point presentation that I had done 10 years ago entitled ‘How to devise a training plan’.  The fact that 10 years ago I even knew what a power point presentation was is an amazing fact… but not relevant. 

Breezing through the slide show was a great exercise for me; both as an athlete, a coach and a purveyor of running knowledge (only when asked, of course – I try not to ‘know it all’).  The concepts are as accurate today as they have ever been, and I wanted to share them in a short-format, in hopes of passing along a few new or reminder nuggets.

Here’s the general gist of the presentation – there are SIX truisms when it comes to devising your training plan.  But before I share them, please note that a training plan isn’t necessary in the pursuit of enjoyment of running and racing.  It really only matters if you’re looking for an improved chance of attaining your end goal.  So here goes…

  1. Every workout has a purpose
  2. Plan your work and work your plan
  3. With wisdom comes age (yes, you read that right)
  4. Don’t forget the small stuff
  5. Definition of insanity
  6. Be flexible

The concepts are quite simple, but sometimes the simple things are the toughest to grasp, simply because they are simple!  And as I often remind other runners, you probably ain’t working/running for a major shoe company for your income, so remember your WHY!

I have never believed in the concept of ‘junk miles’.  Every mile run brings with it a purpose and an outcome.  Knowing what you intend that mile to bring helps keep everything else in balance.  Without balance, in most cases burnout and injury will be the outcome.  I’ve never known anyone who strives for injury as their purpose for running.  By the way, ‘I needed a break from work/school/kids/traffic/etc…’ is indeed a purpose.

The expression ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ has always bothered me.  It’s one of those life truths that business coaches have shoved on type B personalities.  BUT, generally speaking, it sorta does make sense that planning helps achieve the goal.  Having NO plan isn’t really the best way to save for retirement, and neither is it a good idea to start marathon training without one.  You don’t need to account for every minute of the journey, but you probably need to account for the journey.  Oh, and a failure isn’t really a failure unless you fail to learn from the failure.  I hope that statement didn’t fail.

Next month, I’ll focus on rules 3, 4, 5, and 6, since they tend to get a little bit more specific.  But I think the titles give you a pretty good idea of what the content is.  There are some specifics that ‘should’ be part of your training plan, such as training cycles, goals events, highlighted workouts, personal care and the like.  I’ll highlight those, so I can pretend to be that ‘know it all’ we all dislike… hee hee hee. 

I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails. 

Middletown Athletic Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 99 Willow Grove Mill Drive, Middletown, DE 19709

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