Friday Five 2.0: Running without a Plan

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.

My topic today is: Why Run Without a Plan

I have mentioned often that I rarely have a plan.  I run whatever and wherever and run longer (sometimes) on the weekend.

Many things impact my runs – how I feel, what other family/work/social obligations I have, the weather, where I want to run, how much time I have, whom I am running with, etc.

For these reasons and others, I do not use a PLAN.

So here are my reasons why you too may want to try running without a plan:

1. Run with Others

It is hard to find a running partner who will run the same number of miles unless you are training for the same race.  Without a plan, you can be flexible on how many miles you run or if the run is easy or hard. Running with friends is the the most enjoyable way to run.

just some miles on Memorial Day

2. Run more Races

Running races on the weekend often does not fit into a plan.  Running races is motivating and fun way to squeeze in a speed workout.  You just sign up and not worry about how is the 5K going to match what is on your plan.

Workforce Challenge race- 3.5 miles mid-week

3. No Guilt

If your plan says run 6 miles and you only run 3.  You make excuses.  If your plan says 8 X 400m repeats and you do an easy run.  You feel guilty, right? Without a plan, you run whatever feels comfortable for you on any given day.  You can enjoy your runs.

too hot for more miles – no plan, don’t care

4. Freedom to Try New Routes

You can run on trail without worrying that you have to run long or do a tempo run.  You can choose a scenic hilly route. You definitely have more options when you don’t follow a plan.

whoa …hills!

5. Reduce Injuries.

With a plan, you may feel compelled to run when you should be resting or you may run with pain.  I mean, the plan says 7 miles today or the plan says hill repeats. So you run them. Without a plan, you are more likely to listen to your body.  Listening to your body helps you stay injury-free (or close to it.)

long day on the feet at work, chose a walk instead of a run

So yeah, I may be justifying my lack of running with a plan.

Does it make me less of a serious runner?  Hopefully not.

Not having a plan does not impact how often I run, how fast I run or how long I will continue running. In fact, I think it helps.

(Don’t hate me, all you running coaches out there…)

Happy Running! Do you always have a running plan?


13 thoughts on “Friday Five 2.0: Running without a Plan

  1. Okay here comes the running coach response. Running without a plan is ok as long as
    You vary your workouts. Faster/slower/longer/shorter runs
    You’re smart about building mileage as doing too much too soon is a recipe for injury
    You listen to your body and embrace rest and recovery
    Are experienced enough that running is a habit for you. Consistency is key


    • I knew that you would respond.

      And everything you said is important.

      I did follow a plan to a T for my first half marathon. But after 31 half marathons, I think I do all of the above just without a written plan.


  2. I always set out with a distance in mind. I can’t imagine just going out to run with no plan. If a run is going well and I have time, I’ll go farther than planned. Sometimes I’ll cut it short. I don’t follow a training plan for a half, but I do vary my distances when I”m training for one.


    • Same here. I plan a distance during my weekday runs and then sometimes I run longer or shorter depending. As far a long run, I gradually increase them so I am prepared to run 13. I just don’t follow a strict written plan.

      I think we do much of the same thing.


  3. I always got injured following a training plan. I didn’t run the “easy” days easy enough and felt like I “should” do the miles even if a really needed a day off. I don’t follow plans any more, but I try to plan runs that will get me ready for an upcoming race – like including hills for a hilly route or working up to a certain distance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I find it difficult to workout without a plan. If I don’t know how I’m going to get to my end result or goal then it find it very difficult to focus when working out. Sometimes I find that if I go in without a plan that I might try to work myself too hard or run too far, risking injury.

    Liked by 1 person

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