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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finally break this up into a daily plan, ensuring sufficient rest days.
- Now, make sure that you have a detailed planned for every daily session as well.
- 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.