A (real) Plan for the Slacker?

I’ve mentioned before that I have serious problems sticking to training plans I’ve found online or in books,etc.   They’re all a little too cookie cutter and it’s very rare to find one that has rest days on Fridays.  And with my pace being all over the place these days, the pace based plans just make me sad.    Then there’s the Slacker in me that just has a knee jerk reaction to being “told” to run.   Which is why I created my own plan back in November in my almost free student planner.  Which I still kind of love by the way.   🙂  FullSizeRender

Personalized plans are available from a variety of websites but have you seen the cost?  Now if I could promise myself that I would follow it and not rebel like a clueless 4-year-old, the cost wouldn’t be that much.    I’ve just never trusted myself to follow through.    So I had my plan for the next few months and I was good.  Then I got an email.  The SLO Marathon partnered with McMillan Running for course specific plans.   A limited number of free training plans were offered to the ambassadors.  A personalized plan, just for you.   The length of your choosing, designed for you.  For free.  Free?  Seriously?!

I was so torn!  I mean that is an awesome offer.  I use their pace calculator all the time and they have articles and videos filled with training advice.  With a limited number of spots, I had to think quickly.  I liked my plan but also knew that I will likely need a little (or a lot) of guidance to break 2:00 at SLO.   But would a plan stress me out?  Also with the 25K this weekend and Surf City next weekend, I didn’t really have the time for a 12 week plan.   After all most plans don’t have a 13.1 mile race the first week.  🙂   I checked out the website and saw that they offered an 8 week plan.  Hang on, that’s doable.   I would have a little time to rest after Surf City and surely I could stick to a plan for 8 weeks right?  I finally decided it was too good of an offer to miss out on and jumped on it.

I received the questionnaire email about a week later.    Mother of Toledo, it was 6 pages long.  It asked my goals, my running habits, my usual schedule.  It asked for my best times ever as well as just the best times from the last 12 months.  It asked what I wanted out of running after accomplishing my goal and how many miles a week would burn me out. Etc, Etc.   There was also a question about any races I may want to run before my goal race.  I answered all of the questions as truthfully as I could.  I do admit that I left out the 25K part.   For some reason I was scared to put that in.  🙂  There was also a section that asked about any planned trips or events that would require schedule changes.    I may not have any planned trips but I put Fridays in that section.  Fridays usually end up being a longer (open to close) day plus my commute each way on top of that.   That combined with the fact that Fridays are usually busier and I take Friday as a rest day 99.9% of the time.   I wanted that to reflect in my plan so I made sure to specify that.   I submitted my answers and was told it would be 1-2 weeks before I heard back.  Even knowing that, I stalked my email everyday.  It came on Sunday night.

Woo hoo!  Included in the email was their half marathon race guide, their training philosophies, as well as a nutrition guide.  Ok, cool but what about the plan?  I opened the excel file with trepidation… and then blinked.  Wait, what?  I paid more attention to the dates and workout before going back and reading the comments, if I had done it in order, I would have been less confused.  🙂

Fallon, thanks for choosing McMillan Running to help you train optimally for your upcoming goal race. As you head into your San Luis Obispo Half Marathon training program, remember that recovery between key workouts is the key. If you simply perform the workouts and get to the race healthy, you give yourself the best chance at success. Consistent, smart training will produce the best results. Run hard, but run smart. Listen to your body to know when to push and when to rest. For each workout in your plan, there is a corresponding training pace listed in the McMillan Running Calculator (www.mcmillanrunning.com). I know you requested 8 weeks of training, but I wanted to give you a full 14 weeks so that you will have some guidelines over the next few weeks to help you transition into half-marathon specific training in the final 2 months before SLO.

14 weeks?  That’s a long time but the more I read it, the more I felt like it was doable.  Most of the runs are time based as opposed to distance based.   I’ve been transitioning to that since December so seeing that built into the plan was kind of awesome.   Specific speed work drills are built in, no paces but guidelines that I can follow and actually accomplish (fingers crossed).  Surf City 13.1 and Wine Country 13.1 are built into the plan as long training runs.   The weeks following those are built as recovery weeks. snapshotHmmm, I think I can do this.  I was actually super excited to start. Now, if only I was feeling 100%!  I am still coughing up a storm at night so I thought it would be smarter to only run 3x this week.  Boo!

Ever follow a McMillan plan? Or use their pace calculator?

Think I can stick to a plan?  Or will I slack off?

Who’s racing this weekend?

22 thoughts on “A (real) Plan for the Slacker?

  1. You’ve really never found a plan that has Fridays as rest days? Every plan I’ve ever seen does!

    I’m glad you got such an awesome deal and were able to find a great plan. I didn’t follow a plan for my first half marathon, but for my first marathon this fall I bought one of the plans on RunnersWorld.com. Since I was a first timer I don’t regret spending $$ on a plan, but I won’t do it again until I’m gunning for my BQ or a really hard time goal. Just seems like a waste when there are so many free resources out there.

    I just started developing my plan for marathon #2, and I’m basing it off Hal Higdon’s plan, with some tweaks to make it work for me. I just wrote a blog post about how I put it together. Have you heard of the Higdon plans? Many runners swear by them. They aren’t personalized but they are free (and he offers personalized ones for a fee).

    Good luck sticking to your plan! I know it’s hard, but honestly, if you want a big time goal it’s essential. You need the consistency in your training and the pace practice – it’s very hard to achieve big goals without them. Your McMillan plan sounds great – have fun!!


    1. Prior to this plan, I had only found one with Friday’s off. I had tried Higdon’s Intermediate, Nike+ and a variety of the Runner’s World Smart Coach (free) options. None of them ever seemed to click. My first 3 halfs were run with zero planning. 🙂

      I am hoping this plan works out, I like everything I have read. And breaking 2:00 has now been a goal for well over a year, so that’s just further motivation to stick to the plan!


  2. This is awesome! I hope it helps you to achieve your goals. Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who rejects being “told” what to do by a training schedule. I was just telling someone recently that I sometimes skip scheduled runs or workouts out of spite, haha.


  3. I have never followed a McMillian plan but having an uber personalized training plan sounds awesome. I’m interested to see how it goes!


  4. Where is this questionnaire? Was it open to the public or something to accompany a race you’re doing?


  5. I’m the same way with not wanting to follow plans because I don’t like being told what to do… even when I actively seek out plans to help me along, I then rebel against them. It’s maddening! I’ve never heard of McMillan, but I like the sound of the questionnaire-based personalized plan (and the fact that you got it for free – score!)


  6. Ah yes, following a plan… I’m terrible with it. I even paid for one last year and I still didn’t do it. I think mindset is really important and it seems like you’ve got it! Can’t wait to hear more – you can totally do this.


  7. A personalized plan sounds awesome – you can totally do it! I actually create my own plan because I need the flexibility (i.e. different days off on different weeks), but writing it down definitely helps me stick to it. Good luck! I hope it’s exactly the push you need 🙂


  8. I too am horrible at following a plan, but if someone made one special for me I think I would be thrilled! You totally got this! I can’t wait to see the results! Enjoy!


  9. I’ve been using McMillan for a little over a year now (I also have a coach through them) and I love their program. I’m pretty religious sticking to it because I’d be prone to doing too much if I didn’t (I had trouble doing too many miles vs sticking to the running for time in the easy runs at first). I really feel like I became a stronger runner with their training.

    Of course I’m freaking out a bit at the moment because I’m running a half marathon in (gulp!) less than two hours and am trying to convince myself that I should trust my training. 😛


    1. I am excited to see if I can stick to it and see what I can accomplish if I can. Unfortunately, I have had to rearrange the first two weeks since I had a 25K trail race planned that I didn’t share in the questionnaire. Since I was only asking for 8 weeks, I didn’t think I needed to. Oops.

      I am sure you rocked your race!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you can stick to a plan! I’ve never used a McMillan plan before, but when I trained for my first half I used a program I found online (can’t remember what it was now). Ever since then I’ve put a lot of time and effort into creating my own training programs, and I actually look forward to following them! It feels nice to complete something knowing you did it to the best of your ability. Good luck! I can’t wait to hear about how it goes.


Comments are closed.