Seek patterns and progression, not perfection, when planning your training.
Ten years ago, I was one of a comparative handful of runners who posted their training logs on personal Web sites. Though not elite, I was close to the Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying standard, and my status as a regular writer for running magazines probably played a role in my exploits earning more attention than those of others at my level. But more than the times I managed in competition, my unrelenting stretches of 100-, 120, and even 140-mile weeks drew message-board comments and private e-mails from other mortals, whose typical contribution was along the lines of “How does anyone do that?” combined with “I’m going to try that” – a sketchy combination out of the gate.
I’ve always advised people not to copy my or anyone’s training log. This isn’t because I perceived them as lacking the ability to duplicate my or others’ schedules (although it bears mentioning that no one can be the arbiter of what another runner’s mind and body can tolerate or benefit from). It’s mainly because I was keenly aware that no matter how much detail I provided in my faithfully provided rows and columns, the numbers could not possibly tell the whole story or what created them – not even close.
When runners see another athlete’s log that’s laden with prodigious miles and sparkling with ambitious, quality workouts, they typically assume that such a fine body of work was assembled perfectly and according to plan from beginning to end. In most cases, though, especially when high mileage is at issue, what appears in the log is a far-from-perfect reflection of the athlete’s blueprint.
Now that quite a few elite runners share their training logs online, it’s imperative to be advised about what these logs conceal as well as what they reveal.