Creating my own 10km Running program

My task for the first sprint was to research different kinds of running programs and then build my own plan based on the findings. I have now been reading about this topic from different sources and  I have found out that they are very close to each others and thus it’s quite easy to build own program my just picking best parts out of few different programs. I believe that on my level this kind of self-made program is just enough and I’m not in a need to get e.g. help from trained coach. I think using a professional is definitely useful when you are after cutting down minutes in order to reach your target time, but as long as my target is “just to reach the finishing line”, I OK with my self-made plan. Naturally using a personal trainer might be useful in order to check your running style / posture, so let’s see if I change my mind during the journey after all : )

In general it seems that running programs are split into categories based on the target lengths of the journey and based on your starting level: beginner, intermediate, experienced. Thus you can choose the program based on are you starting from zero or do you have already some kilometers behind you. I decided to focus mostly on the programs that are targeted for intermediate experience.

In addition I decided to listen the advice from Finnish runner: Joonas Laurila. He recommends that instead of building a plan that is tightly pre-set for specific days of the week, you should rather decide the exercises based on your other schedule and feelings. Naturally this doesn’t mean that you should do what ever you want, not at all. You should still try to do your best to split the trainings smartly to the week so that you don’t end up running 3 consecutive days in a row at the end of the week. Argument from Joonas to this thinking was that it’s better to listen to your body when doing the planning instead of just doing what’s written on a paper few weeks ago. For example you might have long travel day and due to that having taken most of your free time you end up running 15km late in the evening just to get it done. At the end of the day this might be more harmful to you than actually give the targeted benefit. Thus it’s better that you allow some freedom to your program so that you can with good consciousness plan you exercises smartly according to your other schedules.

Other findings I made was that some programs were very precise and they gave you exact day and week specific instructions what to do. Where as others were more general and just gave one-week-plan and by repeating that X weeks you will be able to rung the targeted kilometers. Also some programs included strength training where as other skipped that completely. As it’s known that strength training gives important support for running, I think it’s important to include that as official part of the program in order to not forget/ignore it. The program I decided to build to myself is something in between these programs: I don’t want to have too exact program as I like to maintain some kind of illusion on having freedom and spontaneity when exercising ; )  But then again I do want to have some variety and progression on my program in order to keep developing myself further. Thus I decided to plan specific types of exercises to my week, but keep the details open so I can choose the actual exercise myself. In addition I’m going to add some challenge to the plan in the beginning of every sprint based on how well I managed to perform during the previous sprint. This means that the program will develop further every 4 weeks (if it seems that I’m ready for it!).

Based on these thoughts my running program for the first sprint will look like this:

My top 10 habits I want to change

This time I’m into something fun: speculating publicly my worst behaviors! Well, they say that admitting them is the first step towards healing, so I guess that’s just something you need to get done and over with in order to get  better in the future : ) Some of my bad behaviors came-up already in my previous post where I wrote about my values and what I’m doing already today to get closer / further away from them. This was done on very high level, so in order to start improving around them I need to take them to more detailed and concrete around the target related to increasing wellbeing & high energy.

I ended up having both big and small topics on my top 10 list. In addition I aimed at keeping them on very concrete level. For example I wont put “high stress” on my list because it’s very comprehensive topic which can be a result of many different things and thus can’t be fixed in one 4 weeks sprint. Instead I try to list down things that cause stress like “long days at work”, “daily meeting marathons”, “organization changes” etc. Out of these I then choose top 10 topics that I want to deep dive during remaining 11 sprints / months.

To choose my top 10 topics I used two criteria: how much the topic impacts my wellbeing AND can I truly impact the topic. One of my favorite saying fits this situation very well:

Give me power to change what I can change,

Give me courage to accept what I can’t change,

Give me wisdom to know the difference.

To sum it up, it’s wasted energy to try impact and speculate things that you can’t change yourself and then again it’s stupid to suffer / complaint on things you can actually impact yourself. So, then let’s get to the actual list. On this list I have defined topics on quite high level, thus I need to detail both the topics and my expectations case by case when I start working with them in upcoming sprints:

  1. Amount of Sleep: Test what amount of sleep is enough and make sure to reach it during work weeks and weekends
  2. Binge Eating during evenings: Fix habits on eating late in the evenings
  3. Long days at work / working during evenings: Identify limits and work towards limiting the amount of extra hours
  4. Hectic days / meeting marathons: Manage my schedules so that meetings don’t eat up all working time
  5. Sucker-obsession: Control it and limit my sucker intake!
  6. Drinking enough water: Make sure to drink enough
  7. Sitting long periods: Avoid sitting down too long periods at work (and home!)
  8. Continuous execution / multitasking: Learn to relax and pause once a while with good conscious
  9. Balancing the macros in my diet: Make sure to get good balance on carbohydrates, fats and proteins – e.g. I suspect I’m not getting these today in correct balance
  10. Balancing the micros in my diet: Make sure to get enough vitamins, fibers etc.

These are the topics I’m going to fix during next 11 sprints. I’m not going to prioritize them as I’m anyway going to pick them up randomly based on the situation when doing the planning for next sprint. As an example it would be foolish to fix the “amount of sleep” during summer vacation when I’m usually naturally sleeping more than I do when being at work. Thus I might be able to fix this topic easily during the sprint, but would most likely fall back into my bad habits immediately when getting back to work. On the other hand what I am going to do is to evaluate case-by-case is there some dependency between these topics which would make it smart to pick-up one topic before another one. E.g. it might be better to fix first the macros in my diet before trying to impact the binge eating during evenings or my sucker-obsession as balancing to macros might naturally also help fixing the other ones.

Next step after having identified these top 10 behaviors will be to decide which one of them I will pick up for the sprint #2. I have still one week to go before having to do that decision though, so let’s give it some time before making the final call : )