Try A Flexible Training Schedule

Get more out of your next run-focused block by following an adjustable training schedule.

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Get more out of your next run-focused block by following an adjustable training schedule.

Real life doesn’t always agree with your oh-so-detailed training plan. No matter how perfectly crafted a schedule or workout, it’s not going to be effective if your body isn’t prepared or if other commitments get in the way. But you don’t have to be a slave to a training plan to perform at your best—especially during your most challenging training weeks, such as a run-focus block.

Pro athletes who work closely with their coaches scrap advanced plans all the time. Brett Sutton—the most successful coach in Ironman history—doesn’t even write training plans for his athletes. He decides each and every workout based on how his athletes feel and what he thinks they need to do to improve. Although you may not have Sutton’s experience or intuition, almost no one knows when a workout just isn’t going to be effective better than the athlete.

Crafting an effective run-specific training block that will have you faster than ever in your goal race isn’t something most people can do on the fly, however. You still need a plan. Instead of pre-assigning your workouts to each day of the week, make a list of every training session you plan to achieve during a given week, broken into seven training days. Pick your workouts from that list every day based on your readiness to train. Maintain a little schedule flexibility to get the most out of your run block training weeks—and still enjoy them too.

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Rate Your Readiness

At the start of every day, realistically assess your ability to train based on physical recovery and real-life factors such as time, stress level and motivation. Rate yourself on a scale of one to three.

Use your readiness rating to pick your workouts as each day comes by selecting one of the potential training days from the corresponding column in the chart at the top of the page. Cross each day off your list as completed and try to finish them all by the end of the week.

Sample Training Week
Monday (2)

Feeling worn out from the weekend training.

Tuesday (4)
Refreshed, but slammed at the office.

Wednesday (5)
Meeting cancelled, have a little extra time today.

Thursday (1)
Up late last night and sore from yester- day’s long run.

Friday (7)
Meeting training partners at the track in the morning, feeling ready to compete!

Saturday (3)
Family is in town visiting, short on time.

Sunday (6)
Day is open and I’m feeling fresh. Let’s hit it!

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