QT: Sticking to the Script vs Coloring Outside the Lines

One of the things I’ve noticed as a running coach is that my runners occasionally struggle with sticking to the script.


That got me thinking about runners in general, and I’m assuming that the folks I’m working with aren’t the only ones that like to color outside of the lines on occasion…

Nothing Should be Set in Stone

I’m a firm believer that nothing in your training plan is ever set in stone.

There is always room to tweak the workouts based on how you’re feeling on any particular day, and maybe that is part of the issue that I experience with my runners.

I want to empower them to make adjustments on their own based on how they are feeling on any particular day, especially on the days when their legs don’t want to cooperate.

But what about those rare days when running feels completely effortless. Is it ok for runners to color outside the lines instead of sticking to the script?

Trust the Process

Sometimes I need to remind the folks I’m working with that there is a method to my madness.

There have been several occasions in the past few months where a runner was doing his or her workout, everything felt good, and they ended up going longer and/or faster than their plan called for.

On the surface, that may not sound like that big of a deal. And in most cases, it really isn’t THAT big of a deal.

But if you regularly find yourself going above and beyond with your training, it may be time to reign yourself in just a little bit.

Communication is the Key


If you’re working with a coach, keeping the lines of communication open is key to the ultimate success of your relationship with your coach.

If you stop sticking to the script and add a few miles to a run, you need to let your coach know so he or she can make any adjustments downstream that may now be necessary.

But communication is a two way street.

The coach can also work to improve his or her communication style to ensure that the runner understands whether or not they can go longer on a particular day if they are feeling good.

What I like to do, especially for long runs, is give my runners a window. So perhaps for a long run I’ll put the distance at 12-15 miles or 75-90 minutes. The lower end of the range is what I’m expecting them to do unless they are really feeling like crap on that particular day. The higher end is the ceiling for the day.

This way they have some wiggle room to go a little farther on the days when everything is simply clicking.

Most of All, Have Fun

I think it’s safe to say that most runners really do enjoy running.

And at the end of the day, making sure that you continue to enjoy running is the most important thing you can do.

So if you’re having one of those days, when you’re feeling better on your run than you’ve ever felt before, it’s ok to go overboard on your run.

Just know that things are going to have to be adjusted down stream, but those adjustments can usually be made without too much difficulty.

Stick to the script or go willy nilly: things to keep in mind when you're having an effortless run. #runchat Share on X

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