Follow The Plan! – Tales From A Run Plan Rule Breaker

This hardly seemed post-worthy. Or so I thought, before 3 different people threw 3 different lectures at me for not following my run plan.

Training for a race is pretty simple. You find or make a plan that dictates when you run, how far you run, and when you absolutely DO NOT run. You don’t deviate from the plan ever. I really thought it was waaaay more lenient than that with most people until I read Lauren Fleshman’s piece in Runner’s World Magazine a few months ago. Here’s an excerpt pertaining to training plans:

“The Training Plan I got two months ago may look like a bunch of scribbles on a notepad or cells on a spreadsheet, but really it’s an omnipotent being leading me to the promised land and must be treated as such. If 800s are planned for Tuesday and there’s a hail storm, don’t even think about moving it to Wednesday. Do not adjust the paces. Stick to The Plan. Success isn’t about the races, it’s about how closely I’ve followed The Training Plan.” – Lauren Fleshman, 

Do you see what I mean? That whole paragraph could have been written by my race buddy. She absolutely feels the same way. And the people on my run team who provided me a marathon plan? They are also on Team Obsessive.

I have never followed a run plan like this. During training for my fastest half marathon, I took a copy of my run plan with me wherever I went. No kidding. I had it on a sheet of paper and would fold and unfold throughout the day to consult the plan. But not because it was this holy, sacred thing. It was because I had so many scratches and cross-outs and arrows and markings all over the damn thing and was always changing plans every second of the day. Happy hour today? Great! Oh wait… lemme just look here… ah ha… ok, no, no problem, just had to scratch out and reschedule something for tomorrow morning.

And 4 runs a week? Uhh try 2 runs a week. Hey, I have always thought 50% is perfectly acceptable in run plan completion. My simple and flawed logic was that I always did well on race day. Therefore my 50% jumbled, jacked up run plan was PERFECT.

Well now it’s a marathon and now everyone is getting all plan crazy. I mean, yes, in the first week of official training I skipped 2 runs, stupidly and carelessly. Then I thought, well lemme just tack on 2 extra miles on the long run this week. Gradual building? Pffft! That’s just for people who didn’t skip their runs this week. This is totally legit. Yeah, well, apparently not everyone thought so…. Actually not anyone thought so. Wait, the 23 year old in my run group thought it was ok, but this is someone rescheduling runs around her and her boyfriend’s partying on 4th of July weekend. Nobody over 30 thought it was a good idea. That’s what I meant. And that’s the group that matters isn’t it? Because when I was 20 I ran a marathon without training for it. Like only 20 year olds can. Ten years later and it’s “FOLLOW THE PLAN!!!”

Fine. I’m sticking to the plan now. Starting today. Yesterday adding 1 mile to a 5 mile run because the group running Chicago had to do 6… that doesn’t count. Today I’m definitely following the plan. 3 miles only. I’m tired as hell and I waaas going to skip it and then maybe add some again to the long run but not now. I swear. 3 miles. Then this weekend 10 again (yes, the plan says 9 but since I already added last week I might as well go with it… but that is totally the last time).

My new plan is to follow the plan. Not to the point of injury, as Mrs. Thomas (nee Fleshman) cautions against. But just try to be smarter overall so that I don’t get injured and get the inevitable “I told you so” from the people who made my plan and follow their own plans.

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