I had planned an early Sunday morning training run to beat the summer heat but instead of running I’m watching Dora the explorer and trying to decide on what my training plan should be. There are several options available out there:
I could just get out and run. Follow my mood and listen to my body. This is probably the easiest method of training and least efficient. No commitment but very flexible.
Then there are hundreds of online generic training plans which might be more effective than just running but I find them a bit confusing. With miles instead of kilometres, speed instead of pace and generally set up in a way that needs more time decoding than actually running I prefer to avoid them. Usually free with their audience being the novice runner looking for some guidance.
Books, specialised running books usually offer methods and training plans by famous runners and coaches who have tons of experience but the main problem there is that you have to read the book and I don’t read books. I just don’t have the attention span needed to finish a book. There advantage is that you gain a deeper understanding of their method, running and the theory behind it.
The second best option could be a custom training plan generated by running sites like Runner World SmartCoach, dailymile and half a dozen others. They have the advantage of offering you to choose the duration, metric system, distance, intensity and goal. They are effective but like any plan you have to stick to it.
Probably the best option is a real, living and breathing coach. They offer the best training and most effective. You actually stick to it for two reason. You pay for it and you have someone to chase after you! You actually run less and gain the most. Talking from personal experience you start the race less tired and stronger. Maybe less confident that you have not covered enough miles but deep down you know that you have trained well. If you are lucky you might also find this as a free (marketing) service provided some running brand in preparation to a large race. Could either be online or offline guidance but the running is always there.
No matter which you choose just stick to it and for sure you will cross the finishing line. It’s all a mind game.