Runners are no stranger to training plans. We choose a race and then develop with the help of a book, a coach, or on our own, a training plan to get us to our goal. That goal may be a new distance to us, like the marathon, or a goal such as a personal best in terms of time. We know that if we just go out and run every day without thinking of where we want to go, that the end goal is less likely to be achieved. Running is a healthy activity but it’s only part of a complete wellness plan. If this coming year is the year you want to improve your life and your running, a wellness plan will help you on your path to your goals. Here are ten reasons you should create a wellness plan.
A plan helps your track highs and lows.
Documenting your thoughts and feelings as they relate to your workout for the day can help you reflect. Reflecting can help you see how these thoughts, actions, and feelings are having an effect on how you are performing on the road towards you athletic and wellness goals. A training plan that includes post-run thoughts as well as thoughts on what is going on in your life can help you see that what happens both before, after and during the run, is affecting you.
A plan helps you pick up on patterns.
Do you always find that there are certain times of the month that you feel down or not as fresh on your runs? A plan helps you pick up on patterns of behavior or feelings that negatively or positively affect your overall wellness.
A plan allows you to have flexibility.
If you have a plan in place it can allow you to move workouts around and not feel bad if you need to miss a run because of another engagement or because you just aren’t feeling it that day. Skipping a day then becomes a positive thing rather than something to stress about when you give yourself permission to move a rest day to a different day and move a workout to a prior planned day off.
A plan keeps you from overdoing it.
Runners have a knack for pushing themselves farther and faster than most people. It’s easy to fall in to a mental mindset of thinking that you aren’t doing enough. If a plan is in place you can relax knowing that you have completed what is on the plan, knowing that the plan ultimately will get to you to your goal if you have patience and follow it. No need to throw in extra workouts that will take you away from the goal rather than get you to it faster.
A plan aids you from doing less than you think you are doing.
On the flip side, if you aren’t documenting your workouts and runs it can be easier to think you are doing more than you are. Much like documenting what you eat for a period of time allows you to see that maybe you are eating more than you initially realized, a plan allows you to see when you need to pick up the pace, increase the distance of your runs or even the frequency by letting you see exactly what you have accomplished every week.
A plan gets you to your goals faster.
You don’t show up on the first day of college and expect to have a degree in four years without looking at what classes you need to take to achieve the degree you desire. A plan lets you work backwards from your goal race or goal date to see what needs to be achieved in the mean time in order to reach the goal.
A plan keeps you on track.
Knowing the steps that you need to take or should take on your wellness journey helps motivate you to stick with it. When you break down your life and the goals you want in to measurable smaller goals it’s easier to stick with it or to pick yourself up and get back on track if you have fallen off. There is no need to completely start over when you have a plan, you just start where you fell off and begin again.
A plan can help you create habits.
Running is a habit. A habit that for me took years to create. There are other habits that I would like to create, like consistently meditating for 10 minutes a day, every day. By having a section in my wellness plan where I document if I did or did not meditate that day I am adding extra motivation to complete the activity. The more I complete the activity and make it a regular part of my day the sooner it will become a habit.
A plan encourages you by documenting progress while allowing for reflection.
As runners every day gives us the chance for a fresh start. That fresh start however can often times turn in to a comparison game of how we felt on yesterday’s run or in a race last year. Much like transformation photos can show physical progress a plan that encourages daily documentation allows for reflection. Are my running times not increasing in pace, but overall I’m healthier? Well then I’d say I’m still succeeding on the way towards my goals.
A plan is a vision board for your life that allows you to move forward with purpose.
Run a strong marathon, drink more water, meditate daily, show love more often, do one thing a day that lifts my spirits, lift others up daily, speak kinder words to myself—these are things that I would like to achieve in the new year. A wellness plan versus just a marathon training plan, helps to create a vision for what I would like the next year of my life to look like. By including my workouts on the plan it helps me combine both the physical elements of my life with the emotional and spiritual goals I have.