Since being able to run again after having Lia, I have been struggling to reconcile finding the time to run, not putting the rest of the family out and still managing to run further and faster. I’m not someone who can just run for the health benefits and to run the odd race slowly without improving. I certainly won’t be entering races to come last. As I want to get faster and train for specific events, the most natural solution is to follow a training plan. So in complete contradiction to anything I’ve learnt about training and improving, here are the three reasons why I won’t be doing so:
I never know when I’m going to be able to run, at what time of day or how far. I could follow a training plan, making sure I fit in the designated run each day, but I’d often end up running late at night, eating into my sleeping time. With a baby who doesn’t let me sleep at night, this just isn’t acceptable.
You may notice that this all revolves around sleep… but on a day when I’m surviving on 3 hours sleep, I might not want to do the hard, long or fast run on my training plan. And I really have to question whether I’d benefit from that designated run, or whether I’d be better off writing that day off and having an early night. On other days however, running is all I want to do. That’s when I will fit in my fast, hard and long runs.
3. Doing things differently
If we all followed the way that things are supposed to be done and did what everyone else does, we’d never discover a new way of doing things that might be right for us.
So here is what I will be doing instead…
1. Running with friends
I’m lucky enough to have a friend who I run my long runs with. We put aside Wednesday evenings to do a decent long, hilly run. This is the only part of my weekly running schedule that is set in stone. We tend to do around 7 miles. I really enjoy this and look forward to it, and I know I’ll have a decent run every week.
2. Making the most of the circumstances
Some days, I don’t run until 10 pm and I can only muster a slow jog, but that’s ok, I’m getting out there. Some days, I only fancy running for 10 minutes, so I’ll run 2 k as fast as I can, that’s ok too. I know I need to work on my speed, so these fast runs are as beneficial as the long ones, the slow ones, the hills or the intervals. Some days, my (lazy) dog wants to come with me. He’s very much a speed merchant so we go to the sports field and do some sprints. This is tiring, for both me and my running partner.
3. Staying motivated
Pushing myself to go out on the same run day in day out, or to do something that I’m not feeling like doing just doesn’t work for me. I end up having a week off training just because I don’t fancy doing what I’m “supposed” to be doing, so I put it off, lose momentum and my running goes out of the window. I know enough about running and training to know roughly what I need to do. I need a long run, some sprints, some hills and some race distance each week. At what point during the week I do them doesn’t matter.
4. Mixing it up
To avoid injury, I personally think it’s important to do other sports as well as running. For me at the moment it’s swimming, just once a week. I hope that as I get a bit more time, I’ll manage cycling as well. For now though, I’ve settled on training to do some aquathlons next year. I hope to put in some good times as well as losing the last of the baby blubber and getting a bit fitter and healthier. Watch this space!
Do you follow a training plan or are you rebelling against it? I’d love to hear your views!