My run last Sunday was liberating. For the first time since last April, I ran whatever distance I wanted. No route, no agenda, no mile-tally to hit. And then on Tuesday, I went one step further: I ran without a watch or my Nike+ iPod. I afforded myself this freedom because my next race isn’t until May 10 (the Hippie Chick Half-Marathon). I figure I’ve been on a training schedule—first for the marathon, and then for the half—since early last spring. I deserve a break!
Yet while I’m enjoying my fitness free-will, I am surprised by how much I miss following a training plan. Before Dimity and I embarked on our marathon training on May Day last year, I was dreading, truly dreading having to do prescribed workouts. Part of who I was—I thought—was a person who likes to make her own schedule. It’s one of the many reasons I am a freelance writer who works from home. I don’t like having to be at an office or a desk for a set period of time. Sure, being the mom of three small children ropes me in, but at their ages, all the kids are on my routine, not the other way around. So I thought I’d feel chaffed by a program that dictated I do a specific track workout on Tuesday and a tempo run on Friday.
Instead, ironically, it was freeing to follow a set-on-paper training plan. I didn’t have to debate what workout to do or worry if I was doing enough to stay fit. It also forced me to take at least one rest day per week, a wise habit I’d avoided for years for fear I would backslide into inertia. (Ahh, a topic for another blog…) My plan is to ride this take-it-easier break like a wave for a few more weeks, then jump back into a set plan. It’s kind of like being on a vacation from a new, stimulating job: I’m going to enjoy my “downtime,” but I no longer dread the alternative.