Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how hard it is to balance things out without feeling like I’m stuck in an endlessly repeating loop.
In the past when a big race loomed on the horizon, I would get so focused on The Plan (with a capital P) that by week 10 I felt like a zombie. I’d spend most of the last few weeks wishing the monotony was over, plodding through each workout while repeating the faithful mantra “trust your training”.
I went from being excited to dreading those workouts, and if we’re being honest here, that kind of defeats the purpose of running, right?
So once my big spring races were done back in April, I scaled back my weekly mileage and looked for other ways to get my fitness kicks. And wouldn’t you know it, my running endurance has improved overall a result!
I maintained a lower base mileage per week, kept my long runs to 5-6 miles on the weekend, and found that I looked forward to weekends because I could fit even more fitness-y type fun things in my day! On days when my knees and my heart just didn’t feel like running, I started doing stuff like yoga and walking (who knew?!). I biked more, both down the park on my trusty two wheeler and on my DeskCycle at the office.
As a result, the past few runs and smaller races I’ve done in May and June have been immensely better than my training runs and races in March and April. I go out strong and don’t waver after 10 minutes like I used to. My pace is consistently improving, even if by a few seconds. I feel stronger, more confident, and less anxious about race day in general. I’m also a few lbs lighter, which never hurts! Hell – yesterday I caught myself jogging up the spiral staircase at my office – I’ve never done that in the 2+ years I’ve been here!
I’ve got a 10K race coming up this Saturday and while I haven’t actually used a Plan with a capital P to prep for this race, I’m 100% fine with that. I’m trusting my training, even though it doesn’t fit into a rigid schedule and add up to a certain amount of miles per week. Sure, I’ll probably feel like dying halfway up those Central Park hills, but I look forward to it! Instead of “trusting my training”, this go-round I’m “embracing the journey” and look forward to smiling through all 6.2 miles.
How about you – have you ever just thrown “The Plan” out the window and gone for it? How did your race turn out? Want to race up the spiral staircase with me? 🙂