Every corporate flunky worth her or his salt, will at some point(s) in their career, have uttered the words,“Let us make a plan for this project and ensure that we track the milestones and/or deliverables.” or a variation thereof.

Well, planning and milestone tracking are essential to a good training plan.

goal without a plan

It helps to approach the overall goal as a whole, and then break up the path to it into smaller, bite-sized steps. This allows you to ensure consistent movements towards the goal as well as provides you with the much-needed motivation and feel-good along the way.

An earlier post had talked about setting a SMART GOAL. This post will help you break it up.

I will work through one example: a running related, quasi-technical example embedded within the steps below (depending on the actual training steps, this broad plan can be used for any fitness level). I am working on another post for a beginner-level, non-running workout. A discussion on nutrition will also be a separate post.

Here are the nuts & bolts:

Detailed Strategy

  1. Do you have an overall fitness-related dream? Write it down. Don’t worry about it being SMART etc. This is your VISION. Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
    My Vision is to do a week-long camping trek in the Himalayas, with my family.
               I also want to complete a sprint-level Ironman within 2 years.
  2. Now, let us come back to the present. What do you see yourself achieving in the near future? Your first step towards your vision.
    I want to run one half-marathon, within the next 6 months.
  3. Set up your SMART goal, including your time window for achieving that goal.
    I want to run one half-marathon, within the next 6 months, while training holistically.
  4. Understand what it involves – what all do you need to do to achieve the goal? Remember the components of fitness? Understand what components you are activating and how. Ensure that there is a balance in your approach
    I want to run one half-marathon, within the next 6 months, while training holistically in order to build greater endurance, agility and overall fitness. 
  5. Where are you at? What is your current status with respect to your desired state?
    Strength, endurance and flexibility are my strong suits. Agility, balance and coordination are not. I am not a natural runner, but am not a novice either. I am fairly conscious of my nutritional intake, but I could work on certain aspects more.
  6. Then break up that overall goal into monthly and weekly goals. This is fairly technical and if this is the first time you are doing this, then I would strongly suggest that you attach yourself to an experienced trainer. I am a part of a great running group and our trainers put in a lot of thought and effort into making the perfect plan for everyone. The description given below is illustrative only – however, having been through 2 training cycles for a half marathon, it is quite indicative of a typical plan.
      Half Marathon event identified – New Delhi Half Marathon, end of November 2015
    Flexibility will be tackled over all in every session through 15 minutes of post-workout stretching.

               Chief Targets in August 2015: Upper body strength, Agility, Core
               Secondary Targets in August 2015: Run Endurance and Run Mileage

               Chief Targets in September 2015: Lower body strength, Agility & Coordination, Core
    Secondary Targets in September 2015: Upper body strength, Run Endurance and Run Mileage
    Chief Targets in October 2015: Run Mileage, Running Endurance
    Secondary Targets in October 2015: Upper body & Core
    Chief Targets in November 2015: Run Mileage, Running Endurance
    Secondary Targets in November 2015: Upper body & core
    Note how this will change if you introduce a time goal: Timed runs are a part of all training programs – however, you will also mention time targets at this overall level and specifically call out timed runs. For a non-time related running target, timing will get subsumed under another head, say – running endurance.
  7. Finally break this up into a daily plan, ensuring sufficient rest days.
    Sample daily plan
  8. Now, make sure that you have a detailed planned for every daily session as well.
  9. Revisit the plan every couple of weeks and see how it working for you. Course correct, if needed.
              I found, after about 6 months of training, I needed more focus on core and stretching than was being provided for in my plan. Hence, I have joined a 3-day a week yoga class that will provide me with just that on my rest days from my running.

Work hard, train hard, stay strong.



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