When you’ve finished a large block of training, you need to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t. This means you need to keep good records of what issues arose during the training period with fitness, health, training availability/interruptions, and ultimately the results of the training.
It never hurts to experiment a little with your training and try something out of your normal training regime too. For me over the previous year, that was trying a more triathlon focused training regime which meant less running and effectively more cross training.
I noticed my fitness levels had increased and my recovery after races or tough sessions was very quick too so very pleased with this aspect. I’ve not had any hint of an injury either other than my on-going sore heels/achilles.
So, with some history on your side, it’s a lot easier to plan the upcoming season. Make tweaks to aspects that didn’t work, fit in some new and interesting workouts, increase/decrease the mileage depending on what your goals are, work on technique for various aspects of your disciplines and generally try and look forward to the work ahead of you.
How To Plan
I use a spread sheet in Google docs and set up an entire 12 months (screen shot below this text). I then list out all the events that I’m interested in competing in. Some of those events might be considered simply as training or measurement events, or less important – they remain as non-highlighted. I will then pick through all the events and highlight the events that I’m going to have a crack at really competing hard in. This may need to be refined a little as you can’t over do the key events. Some seasons I might only target 3 major events and possibly 3 smaller events.
This year I’m going to test my fitness and recovery and increase the number of target events slightly. There won’t be any major half or full marathon races (at this stage!!) so the recovery time will be a lot better for say a 8K cross country or 10K road race.
The other thing you’ll want to plan in is any holidays or other major events so that you don’t end up stressing yourself before a race or miss an important family holiday!! You are trying to enjoy your life and running isn’t your everything!!
A quick screen shot from my calendar for up coming training as per below.
NOTE: I plan my training from week to week. I roughly map out how many weeks I want to go for each phase of intensity up to 6 weeks maximum and also decide on the week what specific training I’m going to do. This is roughly planned around the Jack Daniels Running Formula, just remember, stay fluid and don’t lock yourself into a fixed plan. You need a rough outline for the entire season but be adaptable to take on different or new challenges as they present themselves.