Funny that it’s almost two weeks later, and I’m literally sitting in the same place giving myself another public intervention on my blog. It’s about…okay, basically the same exact thing. I think that the way I view running can help me resolve the problem, however.
Running is an addictive sport. Way of life. Hobby. Lifestyle. Whatever you like to refer to it as in your own life. Sometimes, a lot of times, it is necessary to plan when exactly you will run, and what that run will be. You may not be able to do mile repeats on a specific day because that day is jam-packed, another day is too close to a race, and another day is going to be super hot. Why not plan to bang out the workout during a day that is not those days, if you still can? So you do, of course. As the weekend approaches, you should figure out which day you are doing your long run to see if you can snag some company before it’s too late. It’s not too late yet, so you do. This all just makes sense.
BUT. When you’re me, it doesn’t always make sense. It made sense for me to do this January through May, when I had goal races on my calendar. It never proved a problem, I liked planning my runs for the week, sometimes even the next and the next. There was a nice balance of structure but not too much – I wouldn’t necessarily write it down; neither would I know what I was doing the other days of the week. Whatever was most convenient on a particular day was what I did. Raining and taking off from running? Swimming and lifting is fine. Yoga is fine too. Not big deal. Really nice out but need to cross train? Going to bike and do an ab workout on the porch. Sounds good. Really busy day and just exhausted? Day off is okay, sure. I say “not me” because I get hurt so often, and I need to be so careful, that this is often the norm. Think of weeks in a row without running. Think about it – can you? Can you do it without making a cross training schedule and sticking to it, and freaking out about the race you signed up for and have no clue if you’ll be ready to run? Most people would have a lot of trouble. I once did, but now I’m used to it and I can handle it – the uncertainty, the lack of control.
Let me emphasize that:
People like to be in control.
When there is control over a situation, you can believe and trust that you are doing the right thing and that thing is getting you to your end goal. A training schedule is the perfect example of that. I don’t do training schedules anymore. After years of trying to stick to plans other people laid out for me, I let it all go, basically took each day and each week at a time, understood I didn’t know what was actually going to happen, and just enjoyed doing whatever it was I was doing at the time. I did this for the entire year, and it has (believe it or not) been my healthiest year yet, as well as most fun when it comes to running and racing.
This is what you get when you Google Image search “running training plans”:
This could drive someone mad! Do these people know you, and your body, and what it can and can’t handle? No. I’m not saying that for the super-beginner runner it is a good idea to wing it…but there is so much common sense in running that coming up with your own plan, and making it a very loose one that will still get you where you want to be, shouldn’t be the anomaly. Your shin is “killing you”? There’s a big difference between that and your quads being sore from hill repeats. Don’t run just because your training schedule tells you to.
Phew, that took an interesting turn. However, I won’t erase it all, perhaps someone else will find it useful. My intervention topic is this: I need to treat the rest of my life more like I treat my running schedule. I had to go through several injuries and difficult running-related moments to get to where I am now regarding my attitude toward training, but I think the time for me to start this new outlook is definitely now.
I don’t need to set my Saturday plans now, to have Saturday plans.
I don’t need to constantly have every second of my days off scheduled.
It’s okay to count on spontaneity.
It’s okay to let go of expectations and go with whatever is happening.
I’m allowed to stay inside when it’s sunny and hot, and I’m allowed to “waste” my time driving somewhere without panicking I’m missing out on something. This doesn’t mean I’m lazy or not living each day to the fullest.
What living each day to the fullest should really mean is not spending time in a state of high anxiety, when all you can think of is, I want things to be alright again, right now, because they were before. It’s not going to happen with a snap of the fingers, especially when you are so stressed you forget food exists and so does tomorrow.
So here’s to chilling out. This is new to me, but I realized that when I forget about the future and the past, I am happiest. The first intervention was not so effective. I’m determined to make Part II more so…by using the least amount of effort possible (to avoid a huge catch-22).