Discover more from The Meyer Perspective
What Running has Taught me about Accomplishing Goals
and my current running plan
Good morning everyone…or good afternoon…or good evening.
There I covered them all I think…oh wait…also good night.
There, that should be everyone!
Today, I wanted to share what my current running plan is, why it is this way, where I came up with it, and what my goals are for our next half marathon and beyond.
It might not be all that interesting to some of you who don’t like running, but I encourage you to stick around regardless. The main goal here is to show a valuable lesson I’ve learned through running, which can be applied to any goal we set in our lives.
But you have to stick to the end to find out.
The Next 16 Weeks…Or So.
Right now, I’m at the beginning of a 16 week running plan. This is what I think of as more of a base training plan.
What that means is that I’m not necessarily prepping for a specific race distance or pace right now. I am just building a stronger base fitness level in running.
The reason I’m doing this is because my next real preparation is not the October half marathon. Although I do have a goal set for that race.
If I accomplish that goal, however, it will be a good milestone to know I’m on my way to qualifying for the Boston marathon.
My current plan is to debut my first marathon next March at the Asheville marathon and to qualify for the Boston then.
Prior to the Nashville half marathon, I was on a specific training plan for a half marathon. My mileage was a bit higher than what I’m currently doing now and my overall training was slightly different.
But coming out of that race as I continue working towards Boston, one thing is for certain: my marathon pace needs to get much faster.
Therefore, for the next 16 weeks I am doing a general base training plan. The goal will be to increase my pace, overall endurance, strength, mobility, and a couple of other fun fitness goals.
Let’s jump into it!
The Current Plan
All my plans are based on Jack Daniel’s running formula (not the drink, I don’t think he ran much). This is the specific book I’ve been following if you’re interested: https://amzn.to/3pPDe3F
This is the formula I followed to accomplish the Nashville half marathon. One thing I love about his plans is that he breaks down how to actually build running fitness over time. One of the biggest improvements I learned is about how crucial it is to train at different paces. In fact, he says 80% of your runs should be at an easy pace.
Anyways, this is where it all comes from and so as you will see as we break down my current plan, the majority of runs are at an easier pace and 2 days of the week are quality session runs (or harder runs).
Right now, I’m actually about to finish up week 3 of the plan. The schedule is split up into 4x4 week segments.
That means for 4 weeks I’ll have the same routine, then move to the next routine.
That being said, each segment will have the same daily routines, the only things that will change are what my actual quality (harder run) sessions are like.
Alright, so I’ll break down my plan real quick:
Monday morning I like to get up at 6am and hit the road for a 5 mile run. This is done at an easy pace and always without headphones.
This gives me a great way to start my day and week with some thoughtful prayer, and come back ready for the day.
Later, around 11am when my morning meetings are done, I will go on a second run.
That is correct, a second run like a crazy person.
Don’t worry, it’s just this one time a week. It is also only 3 miles this time.
To get my total weekly mileage up, I wanted to add a second run on Mondays instead of running 8 miles in one go. This way is less daunting.
The 3 mile midday run also lets me bring Merlin (our dog with too much energy) on the run so he can get some exercise. 3 miles is a good distance for him; he can do 5 miles, but I don’t think he really enjoys it.
Tuesday is my first hard quality session of the week.
I am never awake enough or excited enough to hit a hard session early in the morning. Thus, Monday is actually the only day of the week I start out with a run. The rest of the week I dedicate mornings to writing or reading.
On Tuesdays I usually go to do my hard session once again around 12 right before lunch. Although, I usually eat my pre-workout meal an hour before my run.
Right now, my Tuesday run totals around 6 miles, which includes a 1 mile warmup and cooldown.
The actual workout itself is around 4 miles and consists of 8x400m repeats.
Basically, I use this pace calculator to plan my runs: https://vdoto2.com/calculator/
Again, all my planning is based on the Daniel’s Running Formula. He is the one that came up with this vdot idea, which is essentially your overall endurance level.
So when you get into his plan, he sets up different training paces:
Easy - your easiest pace for 80% of your runs
Marathon - your marathon pace…pretty self explanatory
Threshold - we’re getting faster now…I think he says this is a pace you should be able to hold for 20-40 minutes. I believe the idea is we’re right on the Threshold of an aerobic easy pace and an anaerobic hard pace.
Interval - even faster for shorter hard workouts
Repetition - the fastest pace for the shortest distances
So on Tuesdays I run at that repetition pace, but I only hold that pace for 400 meters, or about a ¼ mile. Then I jog and rest for a ¼ mile.
I repeat that 8 times, run one more mile for a cooldown, and then go home to eat my hard earned lunch.
But wait…there’s more!
Tuesday evenings I like to add in a strength training session for my legs.
Again, I know…I’m crazy, but you gotta get the hardest days done early.
Strength training typically involves following a workout on the Centr app from Chris Hemsworth and his team. It’s like squats, deadlift, more squats, and calf raises. Stuff like that.
But it builds the muscles around my joints to prevent injury and help with overall recovery.
I found that after starting weekly strength training, all my ongoing pain from running has vanished.
Currently, Wednesdays are a break from running. Tuesday is a hard day and so it is a good day to take a break.
However, I do still get active. One of my other fitness goals is to be able to do muscle ups.
If you don’t know what that is, it’s like a pull up, except instead of chin to the bar, you keep going all the way until your thighs touch the bar. Just look it up and you’ll know what I mean. (Or check out the gif below)
Thus, Wednesday around noon, I do a workout of pullups and dips and stuff.
It doesn’t help my running, but it helps overall fitness and still gets my blood pumping, which for me is a necessary mid-day break from work.
I work a lot better taking a break mid-day and doing something active, eating lunch, and then getting back to work. I find my afternoons are 10x more productive when I do that.
Soon, I plan to add a 5 mile evening easy run on Wednesdays. Partly to get my weekly mileage up, but also because our dog could really use another run by this time in the week.
Thursday is back to running! We are doing another quality session today.
Once again, I target the noon time for the run, but sometimes if Tay is at the barn until the afternoon, we’ll go around 2 or 3.
This run in the current plan usually ends up being about 7 miles. But again, 3-4 miles are at my easy pace for a warmup and cooldown.
3-4 miles are the actual workout.
This time my workout is focused on that Interval pace, which is slightly slower than Tuesday’s pace. Specifically I do 4 intervals where each interval is simply running at Interval pace for 4 minutes, then jogging for 3 minutes.
The nice thing about Thursday’s run is I know exactly how long the workout part is: 28 minutes for those that don’t want to do the math :)
Friday is a casual day. I keep it very simple.
Around lunch, I just go on a nice casual easy paced run. I target 5-6 miles, and I try to bring Merlin if I think he’ll make it the distance, haha!
The weekend is the time for a long run.
Currently in my plan, a long run is a consistent 8 mile run. This usually takes me just over an hour, so it’s not that much time out of our day.
Last week, we did our long runs Sunday morning before church.
But whether we do our long run on Saturday or Sunday really depends on what our weekend plans are. Either way, basically one of those days is an 8 mile run, and the other day is a full on rest day.
What I’ve Learned
I think I have learned a ton from this plan so far. But if I could boil it down to 3 main points that I believe can be applied to any goal in life, it would be this:
I am not going to achieve my goals without a plan.
I would never have run the Nashville half marathon at my goal pace without this training plan.
Going out to run as fast as I can 3 days a week wasn’t going to cut it.
That wasn’t a real plan.
This running formula has been tried and tested for decades. It worked for me already, and so I trust the process. And that is what I believe is the key to accomplishing any goal:
Make a plan and trust the process.
Perfect execution doesn’t exist.
I have yet to finish a week’s plan perfectly.
I might have a Monday where I’m in the office so I can’t do my afternoon 3 mile run. That’s ok.
I have days where I can’t hit my paces 100% on the quality sessions. That’s ok.
There are weekends where we’re busy and we don’t get in a long run. That’s ok.
I think if you set your goal too low where it’s too easy to achieve, then you’ll never grow.
You need to set your goals just far enough out of reach that there is a little pressure on yourself. This makes you stretch to reach the goal, and with stretching comes growth.
But never beat yourself up for not achieving the plan to perfection.
You cannot set a goal and just immediately conquer it or jump into the hardest version of your plan.
If you were going to learn a new language, you don’t just walk up to someone and try holding a fluent conversation in that language.
You take small, baby steps to get there.
Running is the same way. You can’t get off the couch, having not run in years and expect to run 40-50 miles in a week.
Unless you enjoy pain and injury.
You build gradually, increasing mileage little by little each week.
And the same can be said of any goal in life. When we make a plan, we need to make it with the expectation that growth is gradual at first and exponential later.
The plan isn’t everything.
The worst thing I can do to myself is let the plan take over my life.
James says it best in the word of God:
“Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:15 CSB).
If it’s not in God’s will for me to finish my running plan, that is 100% ok in my book.
Ecclesiastes also talks about all the vanities in this world. Your plans and goals are just that, vanities. Not that they aren’t important, but just that they aren’t the most important.
They aren’t everything. Giving any plan too much priority and weight is not good for your overall physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Thus, if I fail at my running plan, that’s ok. Because it’s not everything. In fact, it’ll help me be more resilient, get back up, and try again.
And that is my running plan in a nutshell. If you liked this kind of content, let me know and I’ll do some more!