Training is a Lot Like Starting a Journey

Run training is a lot like going on a trip where you usually know the destination, but there are multiple ways to get there, more than a few unexpected adventures, and getting to know those who you meet or accompany you along the way. Plus, it seems as though everyone has their own ideas on the best way for you to reach that destination and they all tell you how they did it or would do it. 
CGAS Cape Cod 10K — A Long Time Ago

Even so, you gotta do some planning to make sure you get to your destination with as few problems as possible. Which means you got a bit of work to do, before you start and then be flexible along the way. Especially, since getting to our destinations will usually take more time and work than we think initially. 

There will be failures, obstacles, and other people’s ideas on what is the correct path, which may not be the correct one for you. 
For me, the adventure I keep attempting to finish has been a journey of frustration, injury and unexpected detours since November 1983. At the same I have never fully embraced the time and effort, it actually takes to get there either, and there is little doubt that is what has held me back from getting there more than anything else.
I can see now that changes to how I train are needed if I want to finish my journey and even then the journey may end before I get there due to circumstances I cannot control. I can only do what I can do, but it is the doing that needs to be done, then accept that I have done my best. 🙂

New to me 

Unlike other years, I don’t have any delusions about who I am as a runner and that tells me where I need to start from.
I am is an old injury-prone runner, who is lucky to still be running at all. Especially, with all the training mistakes I have made and injuries I have had over the years (running or non-running related).
Reaching my destination will be a difficult challenge and likely will be a multi-year process. There are no shortcuts I am willing to take to get to my destination and know that I need to do the work, learn to trust the process and training methods I choose, along with appreciating the people I meet along the way.
However, these are challenges that I am ready for. 

What Mode Will Guide My Training? 

That is the question isn’t it?
Over the past couple of months, I knew that change was coming to the way I train (for the better), and I have been actively exploring my options.
It is now more a question of which one of the many modes or paths that could get me to my destination: 
  • Personal coaching
  • RunClubs
  • Generic training plans 
  • Running by feel
Running by feel or using/modifying generic training plans have not worked all that well for me in my attempts to get to my destination since 1983. Therefore, I have little hope of them suddenly becoming the answer I am looking for. 
Having a good running coach setup my training would be ideal and probably would be the best way for me to successfully complete my adventure. However, the budget, my wife and my own sense of frugality aren’t going to accept that kind of commitment or monthly cost for the next couple of years, or who knows maybe even longer.
The RunClub model will probably be the how of my training going forward in 2022. 

Run Club Model

The monthly RunClub costs are more reasonable than individual coaching, which is something I was looking for. However, the model is still relatively new for some of the coaches, and they are still figuring out the best way to deliver their expertise and what they will offer of their coaching products using this model. While still having quality products and additional benefits or perks, beyond the Facebook group model for those who are paying a monthly fee.
Many of the more popular online coaches attempt to establish a community of runners to support each other around that particular coach’s training philosophy and access to their training methods/plans. Plus the coach or one of their team members will answer reasonable questions in their forums.
While RunClubs are not individual coaching, multiple training plans are available for various distances, and usually hosted on the Coaches website or integrated into something like Final Surge/Training Peaks. Which when put all together, can present an alternative between self-coaching and having a coach. 
I have done two-week free trial offers from two of the RunClubs and liked what I saw in the brief time I was there for both of them. 

The Choices

It is now a question which model I will chose in 2022. To use that coach’s philosophy and run training process. An important part of this decision for me at least, what the online running community is like for that coach. The choices are:
  • Greg McMillan Running 
  • Runners Connect — Jeff Gaudette
  • 80/20 Running — Matt Fitzgerald
  • Luke Hanson Running
  • Stryd Running – AI based on Power
All of these online training programs have RunClubs or a similar product that have pros/cons to them and I believe that choosing any of them would provide the levels training consistency and support I am looking for. However, I am pretty sure that the Stryd Running is not going to be my choice at this time for a variety of reasons that I won’t get in here. 
So, by late December, I will have to make my decision and then once the choice is made, focus on that particular philosophy and training methods, and stop being a butterfly runner when it comes to my training.

Looking Ahead 

When I look back over the many years since 1983, I have not actually sat down, looked at where I am, what I needed to do, then make conscious choices about how I will train to get to my destination. 
Instead, I didn’t worry about the process, work needed, training correctly, or the other multitude of things that are needed to get me there. Then I would wing-it until I failed — yet again. Most of the time due to some kind of injury because bad training.
This time I am taking a different path. 
Part of this different path is choosing a particular coach’s philosophy and training plans. Doing so, will make my running life a lot less stressful, allow me to focus more running than worrying whether I am training correctly. 
Also, choosing a RunClub enables me to plan out more than a single block of training and have a better understanding of the entire process necessary to achieve the required interim and long-term work necessary to get where I want to go.
However, after being a butterfly runner, who hasn’t stuck with a particular training philosophy/method long enough for it to make a difference in my running over the years, it will be a struggle at first. 
That first time I see this great workout or new training idea or plan that would have me change direction mid-block — that I want to add to my training — now. it will be hard to leave it behind and continue to focus on trusting the process and philosophy from the coach I chose during this process, has in place and I am using.
I do believe that this change of paths will make a big difference in how well I train and help me commit to doing what I have to do. Especially, since all those other paths I have taken previously, led me to dead ends, a multitude of injuries and too many broken dreams or promises.
Now to do my due diligence and figure out which coaching philosophy/methods I listed, best fit my personality and where I am going on this adventure. 
I am getting closer to starting the journey towards my destination, but this time with a better idea of what I need to do to be successful and a commitment to do, not just dream or fantasize about it. 
The first step in a new journey is always the hardest. 

Accepting that I needed to change – was the first step and the important one.

Come with me now — the best is yet to be.

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