I love this moment. Looking ahead to my next racing season and coming up with my own training plan. I can be optimistic, outline my best-case scenario and dream big.
How much more time can I whittle away from my PR? How can I design my buildup in a way that will have me running my best on raceday?
While a lot of people I know just use downloadable race plans they find online, I’ve always enjoyed crafting my own plans. That joy led me to seeking out my coaching certification from the Road Running Club of America, where I was able to learn more in-depth methods. I already knew some of the training tools that worked for me personally, but from the RRCA, I learned why those techniques worked and how to maximize their effect.
So, now I sit and think of all the possibilities. Pace charts and preliminary periodization ideas sketched on the nearest pad of paper are slowly joining forces in Excel. With each hill workout, track session, tempo run and long run I enter, I get a feeling of anticipation.
That’s why I love this part so much. I have a desired end result solidified in my mind. But there could be hundreds of ways to go after my goals. So I plot my course carefully. Monday off, Tuesday easy run, Wednesday track, Thursday moderate, Friday hill work, Saturday easy run with friends, Sunday long run. Now on to week two of 20.
I will also have no one to blame but myself if I fall short in my A and B races this fall. I could fail to put together a plan that will challenge me enough. I might schedule too many hard runs with not enough recovery and end up with an injury. I could lack commitment, skip workouts, and regress in my training.
I know I will have to adjust something at some point: training plans are the best possible scenario … which never happens.
But for now, I can visualize my future. With a few keystrokes, I lock in what I’m going to be doing on Wednesday, August 10, and Tuesday, September 13. Five months of my life written down in just a few minutes.
I hope that at the end of this training plan I can look back and see progress. I want to become a better runner. I want to finish 2016 with a strong marathon PR. As I finish up my five-month plan that includes two marathons, one 16 weeks out and the other 20 weeks away, I feel a surge of energy.
My fingers have laid out my course. The results are up to me.