Back To Regular Training Runs
For the first time since Saturday, I got to enjoy a good ol' regular training run. It was fun doing things a little differently the last few days. It also made me appreciate how easy it is for me to slip out the door every morning with plenty of choices for how and where to run. I missed that and I'm glad to have it back again.
It's Easier to Shake It Up Than Having it Shaken For You
The past week has obviously completely derailed my training schedule. It's not a big deal in terms of preparation. A week out and changing things up here and there aren't going to make or break a race. I change things all the time. Sometimes it's actually good for training because the change serves as a mental break.
The lack of routine unsettled me though. There is comfort in familiarity and although I like to shake things up from time to time to keep it interesting, I like to be in control of the changes. But I cannot control nature so this one was beyond my realm of influence.
I missed the security of my routine, where I get to pick when and what to change.
This morning I was finally able to get out just like I always do and run a route I know, without worrying about what might be open, closed, flooded or just plain unsafe. And it felt so good!
I Want To Run, Not Solve Problems
Mornings show up way too early. My mind needs extra time to start functioning and a morning run with no special instructions is a good way to get going. Specified workouts are nice. Without them, doing the same thing every day would get real old, real fast. It's the variety that makes each one feel refreshing after the last one.
Every day this week, aside from the days it wasn't safe to run at all, I've been watching where I tread and had to alter my route to stay safe. Staying safe also includes remaining vertical with my feet on the ground. Too many potential face-plant opportunities were lurking about the past few days.
Most of that has been cleared away and any remnants on the path are at least clearly visible. I don't want to think before I'm awake.
So today was the day. Everything was normal.
I turned the volume on my alarm off mute, got up on time, left on time and got the ten miles I wanted on my regular route. And just like that, all is well with the world.
That Was Then, This Is Now
What I love so much about morning runs is that thoughts drift though my head. I don't get locked onto something or get worked up about anything. Well, other than people running red lights and stuff like that; but that didn't happen today.
I feel like I worked so much harder when I trained for my last marathon. Every day I gave it my all. This time around I've been a bit more laid back and loose about it, frequently changing the plan.
Almost through week eight, I'm halfway through the training cycle. If you think about it, it's actually more than half way because there's little you can add in the last couple of weeks. By that stage, what's done is done. I don't feel nearly as prepared as I did last time.
So this is about the time I should be worrying. Well, you'd think; but then you'd be wrong. Training feels more solitary this time. I'm out way too early to connect or cross paths with the runners who were training for marathons around the same time as me earlier this year.
I would leave every morning, hopeful that I'd get to run alongside someone, or maybe even try to catch up with them (most of these guys were so fast I couldn't keep up). I miss that.
A Different Approach Gives a Different Perspective
I wasn't trying to figure anything out. It's amazing what your mind will sort out if you just leave thoughts to float through, freely.
My approach changed. It makes sense now. Last time I worried about the distance. This time I have a healthy respect for how far 26 miles is, but I'll finish it. Previously there was no time goal. None. Around week ten I assessed where I was with my long runs and set a goal, although I'd trained for a faster finish. The plan was to train hard and run easy on race day, and that's exactly what I did. It worked so well for me.
This time I had a target finish time in mind. It's challenging, but doable. Perhaps I did it to keep things interesting. I also know that I commit better to anything when I have a plan or focus, even if I decide to change it along the way so I am more likely than not to set a goal for any future marathon training seasons.
Am I capable of doing it? Yes, with hard work and smart training, I believe it's achievable. But here's the rub. I don't want to be a slave to a clock. Alright, so the course limit for this one is relatively short for a marathon, but it's still not a concern.
The whole reason I signed up for this race was to enjoy the course. It's kind of hard to really take it all in while running as hard as possible. There's nothing wrong with that at all! It just doesn't fall into my idea of a fun race.
I'm a lot more laid back this time and hopefully it doesn't bite me in the butt. I know other runners who are doing this marathon and it would be really nice to meet up with some of them, before or afterwards, if possible.
My Regular Training Run Is Not Thinking Time
It sounds like I do all my thinking on these runs. Really, I don't feel like I think at all. It's like a natural filtration system and all the stuff just flows through and gets sorted.
I figure so many things out on my easy run days without the need to actively think. It makes me feel like my mind had a spring clean before the day starts. Just one more of many reasons why these are my favorite runs. Stuff gets fixed between lacing up and hitting the shower. Then I come home, take a shameless post-run selfie, chug a pint of Nuun, take a shower and brew strong coffee.