Running is pretty simple: you lace up your shoes and head out the door. You can enjoy running for its physical and mental health benefits without much planning or thought, and for many of us, that’s all we’re looking for. If, however, you’re trying to achieve a goal, like run a new PB or take a stab at a new distance, having more direction in your training will help you get there. This is where a good training plan comes in. Check out these reasons why you should consider following one ahead of your next goal race.
It takes care of the planning for you
Whether you find the plan online or you get one from a coach, following a pre-planned program takes the guesswork out of running for you. Not sure how much you should be running to PB in your next 5K? Can’t decide when or what types of workouts you should be incorporating into your training? Having a pre-set plan means you can forget about all that and simply run.
It periodizes your training for you
Most training plans are designed so that you reach your peak level of fitness right at the time of your goal race. It does so by periodizing your training, so you build up your fitness gradually, preventing you from peaking too soon or overtraining.
It builds in rest days
Many enthusiastic runners choose to run every day, either because they love doing it or because they hope it will result in improved performance. Adequate rest days are an important part of training that some runners forget about, but since most training plans include at least one rest day on the schedule, you’ll be reminded on a regular basis to take a day off.
It can help you out of a rut
When you’re training by yourself and following your own plan, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the same few workouts over and over again. If you’re getting bored with what you’re currently doing, a training plan created by someone else will likely have you doing different workouts to spice things up a bit.
It gives you confidence
Finally, following a training plan that was created by an expert will help you feel confident when you get to the start line of your goal race, knowing that you followed the program, did the work and are ready to throw down a fast time.