Why I Need a Training Plan

There are many good reasons for having a training plan.

I need a new one if I am going to follow through on my latest idea.

I think you should have a training plan too. Not that you should have one of my training plans (of course that would best) but why having a training plan is important, especially in the long term.

I have avoided writing about this only because it sounds self-serving, but it would also be irresponsible not to give you the reasons to consider a training plan since I know the benefits.

I also do have a personal reason. I was thinking about what would make 2017 successful for me personally? How much more could I improve? There is no time like the present to find out. I feel pretty good. I could settle for the status quo, but you only get so many opportunities. Why waste this one? I recently turned 51. Could I actually be able to make a significant (or any) difference to my physical abilities?

This is my year long experiment and to make it work I need a plan.

I just returned from a week of vacation. A vacation from everything. Exercise included. No scheduled workouts, really no workouts at all, for 8 days. The end of one season and the start of another should have recovery time built in, and maybe even more importantly, followed.

I drank a lot of coffee. It was delicious.

Cross country ski season is over for me and it is time to start running and cycling. The break is important, it is a crucial factor in success. By success, I mean a number of things. Mentally and emotionally, a recovery period should be a time of relaxation and enjoyment.

Physically, you shouldn’t be grinding away at the same speed, intensity, effort day after day. You won’t get anywhere you want to go.

There should be a variation in intensity, time, frequency and type of exercise. This is the FITT principle. Along with the principles of Overload, Specificity, Reversibility and Recovery, they make up the basic guidelines for fitness and health.

Every person is different. Your health, your fitness level, your goals, the time and effort you want to put into it. Fitness plans aren’t rigid. They are flexible, they are personal, they should take into account all the aspects of health and fitness that are important to you. That would mean success. To achieve your vision of health and fitness, to prevent disease and injury, to get all the potential benefit from your time. That is what a fitness plan should encompass.

There are millions of training plans. Lots of free ones. Many of them generic ones. Plenty of bad ones, some really exceptional. The point is that having one makes fitness a journey, an adventure in your health, a challenge. Maybe even more importantly fitness plans can prevent injury, manage chronic conditions and prevent lifestyle disease. They can keep you motivated, accountable and they help you avoid getting stuck in a rut.

A good fitness plan should improve upon your weaknesses, be challenging, have a variety of harder and easier sessions. Ultimately, it should be personal.

Mine starts today. With a new plan for the next season.

My next “vacation” won’t be a complete holiday from exercise. It will be spending time outside for two weeks of August, with no structured workout, no goals. Recovering from a couple of events and enjoying the final days of summer. But, first I need to start following my new one.

My goal is to train and measure my success in ways that anyone could, without fancy tests or expensive equipment. My goal is to follow my training plan. I also have three events that will help measure my progress. I am doing one trail run in June, as prep for the last week of July when I have half ironman triathlon and one a week later a challenging trail run.

That is going to be a big week. To be prepared I need to start training and recovering effectively.

I’m even going to give you a free 7-day Challenge plan to follow too. This way I don’t feel guilty for writing about the benefits of having a training plan, but you will have to wait for the details!

I will let you know how I progress and if it is even possible to get fitter in the next year. I will give you the tests that I use to measure progress so you can do it too. I will fill you in on the details and whether I succeed in improving or not, it won’t matter.

The fun is in the challenge.

Change your mind, change your health,

Shayla

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