At the end of March when I first started triathlon training I made a training plan that I was going to follow. After only a few short days though my plan was pretty much thrown out the window. I always admire the people who spend hours writing up training plans and then follow them almost exactly. I wanted to wake up in the morning and check what workout was scheduled for that day. I quickly realized, though, that my lifestyle is not exactly welcoming of training plans.
As a student it is fairly difficult to be on any kind of regular schedule. Every day of the week looks different, and that is just my class schedule. Add in homework, studying, and social activities and it is a recipe for training plan disaster. On top of that, my boyfriend is very anti-schedule and hates to plan ahead. Since we don't live together it makes it very difficult to assume when I can squeeze in workouts.
When I tried to follow a training plan for my first two half marathons and was unsuccessful I felt guilty for missing workouts. Honestly, I felt like I was a failure. I wasn't motivated to run and just couldn't get my head into my training. I knew that I wanted to really enjoy triathlon training so I didn't feel burned out or bored ever.
What I ended up doing was writing down what workouts I wanted to do over each weekend based on how I had been doing with training. Then I would schedule the weeks workouts once I knew what my schedule was going to look like. I still missed workouts here and there but I was ultimately much more successful this way.
Some days I felt like running, so I would run. And when I wanted to bike, I biked. I did workouts that I wanted to do, not ones that my training plan said I should do. I enjoyed this cycle of training so much more because of it. I started to really look forward to training instead of fearing it.
I can't exactly follow the same approach for this next round of triathlon training since I am also at the beginning of marathon training and need to make sure I am hitting my long runs. Other then that, though, I'm sticking to my no training plan approach.