As an obsessive student of the sport for over 20 years (running coach for 10 years) I've learned that every runner is completely different. Although the laid out pre-made 12 week plans can give you an idea of what to do when training for a specific distance, it's super important to understand how your body is responding to the program and modify accordingly. This is where runners sometimes get lost and hurt themselves. A decent coach will look at each athlete individually and gauge their current fitness level, lifestyle, goals in order to provide a plan that prevents injury, improves their speed and helps them stay healthy. Running is a simple sport, yet it can cause a list of chronic injuries when not done right. If you have a local team or training program that you can take part in, then I would recommend going that route...as long as you have good coaches that are able to modify your schedule as needed, instead of simply handing out a one size fits all for the whole team. Another important factor in being part of in person training program is the commitment factor. If you can't commit to workouts and are missing workouts due to other life factors, you're putting yourself at risk for injury, especially as the mileage increases.
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