A blog by runners. For runners.

Accountability for better training

Coaching and accountability

So far I’m doing well with sticking to a coached training plan for my half marathon. My race is still 9 weeks away, but I’m hoping training through the cold and snow has me a step ahead of the pack. The workouts are actually getting interesting (fartleks and hill repeats) and the weather finally is getting nicer. By far, the accountability aspect of my training is what’s helping the most. Someone, a real person, is reading my workouts, meaning my coach knows if I complete them (or not).

It got me thinking about accountability as a part of training. Too many times in the past, I’ve gladly skipped workouts when life got in the way. I’d find myself too busy and allow those miles to slip out of my grasp, thereby derailing my training. (How easily one day turns into two and so on.) In the end, taking a day off or three may have made life easier in the moment, but I certainly wasn’t going to boast any big PRs on race day.

There are many ways to work accountability into your training — whether through coaching or not:

Get technical
Sign up for an online running log. Not only is this a great way to log your miles and workouts, but you can sync up to your various social media accounts and share your training. When you push submit on that 5-miler, your workout could show up on your Facebook or Twitter feed for all your running friends, and their more sedentary counterparts, to see. (Curious? Here’s more about Social Media and Running.)

Buddy up
Find a friend and get into the accountability act together. Maybe you’re runners club training partners,  maybe you’re training for different races entirely, or maybe you’ve known each other since grade school but live across the country now. Whatever the situation, email each other your workouts. Maybe you’ll just read or maybe you’ll comment. It’s a more personal, less public way of getting friendly with your training. (Need to find a buddy? Here’s how!)

Connect with strangers
If you’d rather not blab to your real life buddies about your miles, consider joining a forum. The Runner’s World Community has forums for anything from 5Ks to Half Marathons, Women’s Running to Master’s Running, Nutrition and Weight Loss, and more. Some others, though less active, include RunningAHEAD, Running on Reddit, Active.com Forums, etc. In my experience, you can hunt around to find a group within the forum that discusses their training, and I’ve usually seen this done more on a weekly overview type basis.

Try coaching
Last, but not least, you can suss out coaching opportunities available to you. I’ve already covered some initial benefits and details, so it’s surely worth scoping out local clubs and running stores to see what’s offered in your area. What’s cool is that these days you don’t necessarily have to train with someone in the flesh to get the benefits. There are also online coaching programs with real life coaches who can motivate you virtually anywhere you are in the world.

Written by  Ashley Marcin.