Just running - no plan. Anyone do it?

I was just wondering if anyone just runs without any training plans or fixed schedule?

The reason I ask is that I'm currently tying myself up in knots trying to work out a heart rate training plan and tempo runs and LSRs and all the rest but my husband just runs, without any of this.  He just gets up and will run 4 miles one day, 7 miles the next, whatever he feels like doing.  He does try to run a little faster every time but he doesn't do any interval training or have hard days followed by easy.

The worst part is that he's a lot more successful than I am - he can run further and faster than I ever can and seems to improve quicker.  Am I overthinking running?  Should I just get up and go?  Or is he headed for disaster one of these days?

Any thoughts?


  • I have a vague plan in my head as to whether it should be short/long fast/slow, but no fixed training plan or schedule, just an idea in the back of my mind as to where I'd like to be. It's bad enough having to turn up to work at fixed times, never mind having a schedule for the rest of my life image
    I think it also wouldn't work as I feel there's greater potential for injury / failure if you're trying to follow the dictat of a bit of paper rather than listening to your body.
    That's not to say that plans aren't great, just that everyone's different image
  • Hmm, now there's a member on here who's well known for doing that, probably not the best example to follow though.

        As Ian says, listen to your body but try to have an idea of whay you want to acheive, whether it's a tempo run or whatever

  • Im a bit in between the 2 really...........

     I no i have to run at least 3 times a week (if poss 4), i no my LSR should not make up half or more of my total weekly milage, i no i need to do hills on a weekly bases and i no i should do some interval training............................And i do all of them, but i do it weekly to please myself.  Meaning my tuesday night run i may do a steady 6 miles because my long slow sunday run took it out of me, but some chart/program says it should be interval training, B0llocks to that i will do interval on saturday and hills on thursday.

    Listen to your body at the end of the dayimage

  • RR, I do HR training, so if I can help, happy to.  Ian M is right about listening to your body, but you can do that with a plan - it's when you don't have a plan that you can overdo it as you might not know how to sort out a week of runs, allow for balance, recovery and tapering etc.

    Depending on how long you've been running, how fit you are, what sort of base mileage you have and how many days you can fit in for training, a good weekly mix would be LSR (in my HR training, that's done at <70%), a steady run (around 75 - 80%) shorter distance than LSR, but at a constant and slightly faster pace and a tempo session, where you do a series of intervals (around 90%) with recoveries in between.  You could also add in easy / recovery runs if appropriate.

    If you're just starting, then you could look at time on feet rather than miles as that's what you need to build up.  In that case, I'd forget the intervals for the time being and just concentrate on comfortable running with the odd steady (slightly faster) run once a week.

    I have a weekly plan, but it's not written in stone, if I genuinely feel that I'm not up to the faster sessions, then I don't do them. 

  • I don't have any fixed plan, I run according to my mood, in whatever direction that takes me: sometimes just getting my kit on and getting out the door is the best I can do, but I aim to do 3 runs a week and make one of them longer than the rest and one of them a fartlek. A bit of variety is more fun anyway, and I find all of them help with speed, endurance, and most importantly my mental wellbeing. I'm not going to break any records though!
  •  I used to have a strict plan to follow but found that I was pushing myself to follow the 'plan' and started to find it a chore. I decided to do what I wanted and enjoy myself, I do what I need to and when my body allows me to. The only conscious effort I make is to run about 4 times a week, what I do and how much I leave to me!!!
  • Thanks everyone.  I'm not (yet) following a strict plan but had hoped to implement some structured training in the next couple of weeks before the Liverpool half marathon at the end of March.  I'm just trying to build up time on feet at the moment and hoping the miles will start to come naturally - wishful thinking maybe?

    Jeepers, thanks for the offer of help but I've got a rough idea of what I need to do.  I might get back to you if it's not working out!  I currently go to the gym each morning but will hopefully be back outside in the next couple of weeks as the mornings get lighter.  I would probably have an hour or so at weekdays and look to do my LSR at the weekend.  I think one complete day off sounds like heaven so really want to keep this if possible.  Is it enough to be running for just an hour a day? - reading on here it seems people do an awful lot more. 

    Maybe I should try just to enjoy running - I don't particularly at the moment because I'm trying to build up fitness again and it's hard going all the time.  I suppose I'm a bit jealous that my husband can just go from nothing to running for miles with seemingly little effort!!  He doesn't even know what a tempo run is!!  I just wondered if he had a better approach but it looks as though it's different for everyone. 

  • I never followed a plan until I got into this years London Marathon.
    I simply always found it easier to improve and put the effort into something I enjoy.

    This marathon training lark can be tedious at times

  • I don't follow a plan, even for marathons. I work shifts so a plan doesn't suit, I try to run at least  40 miles a week and run at least 6 times a week. Some days I don't have any idea how long i'm going out for and will just see how I feel, most importantly I enjoy it!
  • RR - running for an hour a day is fine, if you're only just starting, you might even want to start with shorter time and build up gradually, thus reducing the risk of injury.

    Miles will follow and hopefully, you'll enjoy them.  If you're trying to build up fitness and it's hardgoing, perhaps you're going too fast too soon.  Concentrate on building up a good solid base of easy miles, at a pace or HR that feels comfortable and you'll find that you're able to do more miles and as you thus become more fitter, at a faster pace, or lower HR.

    Don't compare yourself with your OH, you're just going to make yourself feel worse.  We laydeez run differently from the boys anyhow, so just concentrate on what you're doing and your own improvements and ignore him.image

    Good luck!

  • For me it depends.  I often use running for general fitness to support my mountain biking, so for much of the time, I 'just do it', although I do follow general advice on not increasing my mileage too quickly, and varying the surface, pace and distance. I did follow more of a plan when i trained for a half-marathon though.
  • Lirish wrote (see)

    Hmm, now there's a member on here who's well known for doing that, probably not the best example to follow though.

        As Ian says, listen to your body but try to have an idea of whay you want to acheive, whether it's a tempo run or whatever


    Running without a plan means you won't get the best out of yourself, and more likely than not will result in you hitting a medium hard pace every day, rather than the key easy - hard split of days.

    This medium hard pace will bring short term gains, especially if you back up with a high mileage, but long term will just lead to injury and plateau.

    If you plan your week, and have the hard sessions laid out, you can get to a point where you do them as routine and don't even question them. The rest of your week should be easy pace, ie enjoyable.

    As per Jeepers, don't worry about your other half. If you train to a proper plan you'll be more likely to hit a greater level of your potential than your bloke, irrespective of whether he's hitting times faster than you. It's a battle against yourself at the end of the day.

  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭
    all I do is think of a route to do on the day I do it just get out and go running may be 2 plus hours at weekend
  • My running is only dictated by whatever else I'm doing.

    Now that I'm not working - or at least not in permanent fixed work I do whatever fits in with the day.

    I try and do all my running weekdays but it doesn't alway go that way and I normally end up doing an easy run or race on Sundays. Trying to kick the habit.

    I have no long term goals or upcoming races, just trying to get fitter and faster.

  • I don't generally follow a plan anymore.  Usually I run 6 nights a week and try to get a tempo session and a longer run in but sometimes I just can't be bothered to do a longer run.  My weekly mileage is usually between 40 & 50 miles and I tend to run 6-8 miles per night, like many others on here I just do what I feel like doing.
  • You should read 'Run: the mind body method of running by feel'. I'm half way through it at the moment and it discusses this very issue. Very interesting stuff. Basically talks about trusting your instincts and doing what you feel is right for you on a given day.
  • Thanks wombling free - I'll look it up.

    I think I'd maybe enjoy running more without a plan because if I don't achieve something one day I beat myself up something rotten and feel like I've let myself down badly.  On the other hand, I've got a half marathon to get round so some structure would be good.

    I suppose it's just finding that happy balance that so many of you seem to have.  I think not comparing myself to my OH is probably the hardest thing to do but the most important.

  • From the moment I started running I followed plans - from the RW 5K all the way through to marathon with Hal Higdon.  Then I got injured and started the cycle of improving/injuring because I had allowed myself to become very target focused.  Now however I don't follow any plans at all and just allow myself to enjoy the runs that I do without putting pressure on myself to go faster/further/longer.  I have a few races booked over the next few months but none of them are unrealistic targets (something I've been very guilty of in the past).  I have a vague idea of the miles I need to get in for base fitness for these distances and am working on a small incremental increase per week to build the miles required.  I've also decided that I'm not going to 'race' these and try to achieve PBs but I'm going to get round, enjoy the race atmosphere and know that I've worked as hard as my current ability will allow me.

    Plans have their place and for some people can be incredibly useful tools, for me however they were detrimental in that I focused far to much on them and allowed them to rule, and ultimately stress me out to the point of physical and emotional breaking point (on breaking myself I became very low because I couldn't run).   I think its been very well said by others that listening to your body is as important a part as choosing the right shoes.  If your body's not happy then something needs to change.  I should stress that plans were unhelpful for me in some respects but great in the respect of improving my abilities - thats very much down to my slightly OCD personality though.  Have a think about how you think you would respond to the strict constraints that plans can impose.

    Do also bear in mind though that comparing your running to that of others can potentially be very damaging.  I have friends who are naturally more talented as runners (and I'm very envious!) and others who are slower than me.  I've found trying to attain the level of my faster friends not only contributed to causing my injury but also caused me a degree of self doubt and lack of belief in the ability I did have.  Focus on what YOU can do, concentrate on YOUR running/racing and let others do their own thing.  Running is far too an individual activity to allow for peer comparisons.

  • I don't have a fixed plan but I make sure I run six days a week with one long run and a fast session included. I know I'm probably not going to achive my best potential but I like the mentality of just getting out there and running and if I want to run faster I run faster. A strict plan I know, wouldn't suit me which is weird considering I like routine and structureimage
  • Plans are generally designed to help you achieve the correct (and best) balance between training and rest.  For the most part they work and can be useful in suggesting a mix of training to help you improve.

    The main reason that plans fail, IMHO, is that the people following them fail to listen to their own bodies.  No plan is written in stone, but it's when people following them rely on the plan rather than common sense to dictate what to do, that problems occur (injury, lack of motivation etc).  I follow a specific HR training plan but the advice is clearly stated at the start "If for whatever reason you're not up to a run, then don't do it!".  There have been days when I've cut runs short, switched tempo / steady runs to easy etc, because I know that it's better for me to do that than follow the plan slavishly . 

    I like the structure of a plan and was injured myself in the past by not following one, but I'm not a slave to it.

  • Following a HR Plan is difficult IMO. Always seems as if you are running slow.

    But, that's the point. This slowness enables you to run well within yourself (by HR standards) and for longer.  It can take quite a while to see results, but stick with it.

    For my weekday runs I just use Pace, but for my LSR I use HR method.

  • Gazmanmeister wrote (see)

    Following a HR Plan is difficult IMO. Always seems as if you are running slow.

    But, that's the point. This slowness enables you to run well within yourself (by HR standards) and for longer.  It can take quite a while to see results, but stick with it.

    For my weekday runs I just use Pace, but for my LSR I use HR method.

    If you stick to HR, eventually you should find that you're running faster at the same HR or your HR is lower at the same pace.

    Essentially the same will happen no matter how you train, you get faster and fitter, HR just adopts (as Gaz says) a longer, slower approach.

    Works for me - at my ageimage.

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