What makes a good training plan?

What does a good training plan look like?

What a loaded question, right? It could look like so many things.

Well, don’t expect a detailed explanation below because the truth is that what makes a good training plan lies in the big picture, not the details.

So what is the key to a good training plan? It’s a plan that allows you to accumulate consistently good runs and workouts for weeks and even months on end.

Not every run or even workout has to be great. Not every one will even be good. But there should be more good than bad.

More specifically, what does this mean? It means you build sustainability into the plan. You very rarely, if ever, plan to go 100% because you can’t do that often without breaking down. You build rest and recovery into the plan because those are both when you actually improve and critical in ensuring that you can keep going for long periods of time.

Beyond that, the details are specific to the individual but they do matter to an extent. If you are a speedster, you will probably find a lot of grinding long runs and tempo workouts to wear you down so you should consider more shorter, intense work with just enough long runs and tempo workouts to cover your bases. Likewise, if you’re a grinder who loves long runs and tempo workouts, you’ll probably break down if you do too much high intensity. So include a generous portion of long runs and tempo workouts and use the more stressful high intensity workouts more sparingly.

As I often tell the runners I coach, you won’t see much improvement in a few weeks or in a month or two but, when you look back 6 months or a year from now, you will be surprised by how far you’ve come. That, to me, is the measure of a good training plan and that is what a sustainable level of training will do for you.

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