Training plans are a hot topic amongst athletes and runners in particular. As a coach I provide personalised training plans for my runners and I also answer my fair share of questions about training plans from friends, family and other runners. In fact, I was asked this seemingly simple question by a beginner runner in an email a couple of weeks ago:
"Do you think I need a training plan?”
She was looking to improve her 5km time over the coming months and was weighing up whether a training plan would work for her. At first this seems like a no-brainer for a running coach to answer. Yes. Simple. But actually it is nowhere near as easy as that. I wish!
Go Run Australia is still young, but even in this first year, I have noticed a few things about who responds best to training plans and who is sometimes better off doing their own thing. I have no problems with either way. I have plenty of close friends who would never dream of getting a running coach and are improving and enjoying their running regardless. For others, with the help of a coach, they have improved beyond what they thought possible and are getting the personal best times that they were after. It is a very individual thing.
One of those people who is continuing to go from strength to strength with the help of a training plan is Sally. When I asked her what she thought of her Go Run training plan, she said,
“Loving it! Structure and routine is great for me and being accountable to someone. I don't have to think or stress about my training plan now!”
For me, as a runner I have personally made greater progress than I thought possible with the help of a coach and a tailored, individual training plan. There is no way I would have been able to complete 2 Ironmans, 2 half Ironmans, get half marathon and marathon PB’s in the last 2 years without it.
So what can I genuinely, honestly advise people who are asking this question,"Do I need a training plan?”