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085: Why Your Training Plan Might Not Work

Apr 25, 2019


The internet is a wonderful place because you can ask it a question and it will give you millions of answers.  If you are searching for a training plan because you are looking to get fitter or because you have an upcoming race, there are a wide variety of options to choose from just a couple of clicks away.

On this episode, we talk about why those plans each come with their own positives and negatives.  

First the downside of plans.  Most plans are created from one training philosophy that was researched on elites and worked well for someone else.  There are many training styles, and they all have the same end goal in mind of improving fitness. The right plan for you is the one that brings enjoyment, results, and keeps you injury-free.  

While most plans will work, some will get better results faster because each person adapts differently to different styles.  Just because you and your friend run at a similar pace and have the same goal race in mind, does not mean that you will both be best served with the same plan.  

Another huge issue discussed in the show is simply repeating the same plan because it has worked for you before.  We get into some nuance to this, but the idea is that some repetition is good, but eventually your body will be so adapted that you are not reaping many benefits anymore.  

Finally, real life causes plans to go haywire.  If you are locked into a plan, but can only stay on it for 2 days at a time, what happens when the plan needs adjusting?  Plans are good, but they need to have some flexibility and some guidance to be most effectively used.

From the positive side, plans work because they help you stay focused on the end goal.  If you stray off of the set path, the general plan should guide you back to where you are heading.  

Second, a plan allows you to learn about yourself.  I think that a well made plan will not just make you more fit, but teach you along the way.  When you do not have to worry about what the workout is, you can pay attention to how you feel during the workout, how sleep and food and stress affect the workouts.  You can learn your effort levels. You can understand how hard you are capable of pushing.

Finally, and this one has been tricky for me for a long time, and is something that I still struggle with.  Having a framework and structure actually increases your freedom to experiment. When you do not have to worry about yesterday’s workout or the plan for tomorrow, you can be present to the current workout.  You can play around with intensity levels and recovery. You can adjust the workout on the fly because you understand the big picture.

This final point connects so wonderfully to other areas of life.  Diets don’t work. You have heard us, especially Angie, announce this all the time.  However, a basic framework of healthy eating allows you to approach the day with a flexible plan that can bend for a treat at one meal that will be balanced at another meal.  In organizing your day/week/month, it is helpful to have an idea of the destination and a basic framework of what needs to get done. I like to have a short to-do list so when time opens up in the day, I don’t have to think about what task to accomplish.  I do not have a fixed schedule of typing the show notes during this exact time window, but I know they will be done today.

While I resisted for a long time, frameworks make everything organized, bring greater clarity and makes life, fitness, nutrition, and really anything easier.  


Hope you enjoy it!! Let us know if you have any questions that you would like answered on our show!    

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