When I started running I just had the one goal of running at least 2 miles 5 times per week.
This was great for the first 3 months of the year but then I hit a plateau. I wasn't improving much and just running longer wasn't cutting it for me.
For over a month I struggled to improve any stat.
I knew I had to change something.
I started reading about training plans and different running regimes. I experimented for a while and, with the help of an ultra-runner friend, settled upon a common program of 3 short runs per week (not more than 5 miles), two sprint sessions (to build up stamina), and a single long session.
This strategy has worked wonders for me. But for a while, it was hard to stick to it. I didn't have a clear enough plan for my weeks. So now, after my weekend long run, I sit down to review all the week's sessions and make up a rough plan for the week ahead. A total game-changer.
Reviewing the running weeks lets me adapt my strategy and check how I'm progressing. And planning the runs for the week allows me to fit everything into my schedule to ensure I don't miss one.
But perhaps the best bit of planning is that Sunday nights, however tired, I'm already pumped to hit the road again.