For the moment, I’m continuing on with the running schedule I’ve been using for the last 6 months or so. But while doing so, I’ve been talking with the various coaches in my running group looking for the right training plan for me.
It’s a bit more difficult than usual because I lack a clear idea of where exactly I am, what I am capable of running and what my goal is. While I’ve been running the last 6 months since completing my first half-marathon, I haven’t been “in” training. Even then, I wasn’t in ideal condition before, so every month of running has simply been me improving my fitness level.
Now, when these coaches help set a plan, they ask for the most recent 5K time, an overall goal time for the race and details like that. My most recent 5K was 3 months ago in the middle of a very hot, Florida summer. While not a bad time to be sure (24:22), a lot has changed since then in terms of my abilities.
The same can be said for setting a goal time. I’m not entirely sure of my level right now, so how can I appropriately gauge what I think I’m capable of to set a reasonable goal?Admittedly, my first and foremost goal is to finish. But in regards to creating a training plan, having a finish time goal gives the coach the ability to set pace targets and overall workout lengths in the effort to train the body to reach a particular time over that exact distance.
Should I go with the coach that has a cookie-cutter, Excel spreadsheet where he just plugs in the above times and my schedule is generated? Or should I ask a coach who will take a bit longer to construct my plan, but will create it for me as an individual (and so may not be quite as proven as the first plan)?
Regardless of my choice, I know that it will help me prepare for this distance. It’s just picking which one will best aid me in not only completing the marathon, but doing the best time I am capable of.