Tightly Schedule Runs or Not?

Should I schedule runs, or should I leave it up to the air? There is some debate, but it depends on a variety of factors. Some people are great with schedules, others… not so much. Schedules can motivate you, or they can make you dread the day. So what should you do?

Examine Your Problem-Solving.

Look at how you handle tasks outside of running. Do you schedule your household chores, or do you do them based on when you feel you should? If you’re more on the mathematical, logical side, perhaps schedules and task lists are how you manage. More creative and artistic people tend to prefer to freestyle it, and that works for them.

If schedules are how you manage daily tasks, scheduling your runs would be a great way to train hard. Otherwise, don’t begin planning every workout; it will only make you dread the hard days.

By scheduling, some people find that they now have to do it, to make sure it gets done. This way, you follow through with your training.

Figure Out You.

Schedule or not, your weekly training is working towards a goal. Once you find what you do best at and feel most comfortable with, you can start to make plans. For example, a mile sprinter doesn’t need anywhere near the amount of distance a marathon runner does every week; the sprinter has focus on speed, which is cuts back the distance.

After you have this figured out, you can think about what you should be doing. People who love schedules can use this to build a day-by-day training plan and follow it to the dot. People who aren’t so keen on schedules are better off writing a general idea of what each day will have. This way makes it so that you have some leeway to do what you feel like you should be able to do – which can be helpful, or cause damage.

How a Schedule Helps, or Damages:

This is the final kicker to figure out whether or not you should schedule a run. A schedule can be detrimental, or motivate you to new PB’s.

A plan can make you work too hard because you listen to the schedule instead of your body. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out when you’re pushing yourself too hard, and a schedule could lead to overtraining. A good training plan is built for you, based on your goals and current strengths. A great training plan is just that, with changes when necessary.

People will follow them schedules very closely, then injure themselves in one way or another. This might not be the result of the training plan, but it’s an injury nonetheless. Then they will pick up right where they left off, rather than rebuilding and adapting the plan. This leads to them not being ready for the harder training, and an even worse injury on the table. Exercise is very dynamic.

Listening too much to your body and mind can also be detrimental, because if you are lacking motivation during the day you won’t push yourself as hard as you could have. You won’t train nearly enough, and you might disappoint yourself when it reaches race time.

You might spend an entire week doing easy and long runs, when you could have pushed yourself to your limits during one or two days of that week, and help improve the parts of your body that will really count during the tough moments of a race.

It’s a very scary thought, but keeping this in mind can help you prevent this from happening.

The Answer:

It’s a fine balance.

A schedule can help you immensely if you recognize how to make it tailored for you. A schedule for me might be completely different for you, even if we are training for the same event. Running is a great self-building sport, and can help you learn about your body and what your limits are. Once you figure out you, you can truly understand how to manage your training.

Swinging too far either way can be a mess. Plans can be rewritten, and plans can help motivate. They don’t have to be followed to the dot, your body knows when you should stop and put it off for another day.

Follow a plan, and change it when necessary. Schedules are good. Pay attention to your goals and body, and create the balance you need for optimal performance. Always keep a balance. Then you will be golden.


Caleb Thompson is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and other Amazon stores worldwide.

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