Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Training Plan

PRing is hard work. I know that I can't just run whenever I feel like at whichever paces I feel like and expect to hit my goal time. But finding a right training plan is so hard.

For the Oak Tree Half, I found my training plan by checking out two years worth of Runner's World Magazine from the school library. Then I went through each issue cover to cover in the span of two days. Luckily for me, I found a perfect six week plan with a day of intervals, a day of tempo, and a day of long run. And I followed that plan like the world was going to end if I didn't.
Sort of like this, but less hardcore. Since the training was during the summer. And also at the beach. 
But now, I have an important race coming up, but no training plan.  Every time I think about having to hit certain paces for a tempo or intervals, I get stressed out and lose the motivation to run. I think I can't, before I even step out the door. I think that for my first half, there was less stress to PR, because I could have ran that half in 5 hours and it still would have been a PR. Additionally, I did most of my training runs by the beach in Cali.
Elevation profile of my run at the beach. It changes maybe about 40ft at most. 

Elevation profile of my runs now. It changes around 300ft. 
Since I don't have easy access to a track or a treadmill, and even if I did, I wouldn't want to run my longer intervals on the track, the hills are daunting. 

This also is probably why I had such a hard time at Oak Tree Half. I went from sea level flat training runs to higher altitude hilly course. 

My point is that I don't know what to do about a training plan. It would be nice to have one, but at the same time, I am afraid of not being able to hit my paces. These are the times when I wish I had a coach telling me what to do. 
Exactly my problem. 
How do you guys find a training plan? How do you keep yourself from being intimidated by the specific paces that you hope to hit?


  1. Check out the Smart Coach feature of Runner's World website (the free version). I just got my new training plan for my next half from there and I really like it!

  2. If I am running outside, on my normal hilly run, I give myself a break from always hitting my pace because I know it's harder than the actual race. Most races try to pick the flattest course, so I like to think it will be easier on race day since I trained on hills the whole time.

    By the way, I am always nervous before a speed workout. I have yet to find the "perfect" training plan for me. I usually combine aspects of Hal Higdon's training plan across his different levels of difficulty...and then add in whatever I want to do cross-training wise.

  3. We've used Hal Higdon's novice half marathon training program and have tweaked it here and there when we needed to. We are probably going to use his training programs again in the future!