I say 'maybe' because believe it or not, not all runners use training plans. Not everyone sits down and plans their training out at the start of every week, based around what they have done the previous week. Some of your more serious athletes will have long terms plans and goals set out by their coach which they stick to religiously yet some runners don't believe in them.
Training schedules can take many forms. They could be written on a scrap bit of paper, jotted onto a calendar in the kitchen or, for the more sophisticated runner, recorded online. It doesn't take long to realise that the more serious you take your running, the more in depth your plans are.
The reason that we love running so much is because it is so simply natural. It doesn't take much to put your kit on, do a bit of stretching and head out for an adventure, not knowing how you are going to feel, how far you are going to go or how fast you are going to go. It's what attracts people to our sport in the first place - the simplicity of it all. By sitting down and planning out what you are going to do tend to take that away. What if you plan a 6 miler but after 4 mile you feel great and want to do more and end up doing 7? Oh no! Plan ruined!
In a world where our lives are so frantic, stressful and hurried, it's important to be able to do something that clears your head. Running allows you to forget about all your worries and sometimes if you have a planned run written on a notepad or a piece of paper, that can act as the incentive to don the shoes and get out of the front door, a prompt to get yourself out for your run.
For most that don’t have a plan, they will insist they aren’t competitive and just run for the fun of it, to lose a bit of weight and stay healthy, a structured plan feels like they have to admit that they are taking this running malarkey seriously, something they swore they would never do!
'I want to rest my body is tired, not when I'm instructed to by that plan!' Is this true though? A plan will help you focus, keep you motivated.
Training plans are vitally important to any runner, no matter how seriously you take it. A plan can curb the enthusiasm of a beginner who wants to run more than their body allows. A plan can help you assess your fitness and make your runs varied and more enjoyable. Running can still be fun, even if you know how far you are going beforehand. There isn't an essential need when you first start running, take your time to see what kind of running you like and plan accordingly once your fitness improves. Having a plan doesn't make you a serious runner.
And even if it does....is that such a bad thing?