There are a million and one training plans. Most share similar ideas of how to improve. The question though is not “what plan” but “what is your goal?” Asking that question will help you narrow down your plan.
As you know, when I started running, I just ran. I started with the basic running plan that my Tri Group introduced me to. The couch to 5k. It was perfect for my goal of the time which literally was just to get my @ss off the couch to run the 5K in the Tri. It worked.
When it was all said and done, I turned into Forest Gump without the beard. I just ran and ran some more. The more I ran though, the more I realized that I needed to learn more about the “art” of running. Yes, running is simple. Just put one foot in front of the other, but there can be so much more… If you want there to be.
I will say though that if in the beginning I felt the need to do more than just run, I might not have run as far and long as I am now. I ran just to run. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a goal. I didn’t know about mile repeats, speed training or any of the other types of training. I thought if I put the miles in that was enough. You know what? For me at the time, it was enough. If I didn’t just put on my shoes and run, I might not be where am today in my training. My only thought in the beginning was just pure and simple to be able to run without feeling like I was dying.
I was talking with a friend who is just getting back I to running (yes, I mean you:). She was asking me if I was doing all these accelerated glides (not even sure what that is) and magic miles (something else to investigate). I told her no because right now I’m too late into my Hat Trick training plan to start something new. Stick with the plan. Keep my eye on the end goal. I do want to investigate over the off season, but not yet. I know that I do have much to learn about running, but I think if I knew how clueless I was when I started that I might not have started. I would have been overwhelmed. I’m glad I didn’t know any better and just ran.
My advice to anyone just starting out is to not worry about those Magic Miles yet! Don’t think about all the things that you think that you need to know to start, because the bottom line is that running really is simple. Yes, there are many complicated training exercises that you can do to improve your running. Yes, they can help you run faster. But the knowledge will come in time as will the improvements. As I said in the beginning, ask yourself one simple question (which you can share with us if you’d like):
What is Your Goal?
If you goal is just to run. Then just run…