It’s been nearly a month to the day since my last race, and I’m loving not being on a training schedule. No prescribed distances to run, no paces to hit, no track workouts. Just heading out the door and running here, there, and everywhere depending on my mood. Sometimes the maps of my runs on Garmin Connect resemble a kindergartner’s Etch-a-Sketch doodle. I’m not saying there’s no structure to my workout-week: I just signed up for a butt-kicking boot camp that meets every Wednesday, and I’m on week 4 of a Friday morning kettlebell class. And I’m sticking to Monday as a rest day, leaving four footloose-and-fancy-free days of running.
As I set my alarm the nights before a morning run, I contemplate where I’ll go and how long I’ll run, an unnecessary debate when I’m following a plan. This weekend I complicated matters for myself by waffling on how long I’d run on Sunday—I was due to run 10 miles with my good friend Ellison, who lives about two miles from us. It seemed almost shameful to drive to her house, yet I wasn’t sure I was up for a 14’er. So on Friday evening I was left pondering if I should run an hour on Saturday, which would mean I’d do 10 the next day, or if I should keep Saturday’s run a bit shorter in prep for 14 miles. I ended up running for about 47 minutes, sealing my Sunday run as the longer option.
Except then this thing called real life intruded. After a 1:31 a.m. pee, it took me nearly an hour to fall back asleep. In between a toss and a turn, I reset my alarm for 20 minutes later, meaning I’d be pressed for time pre-run. Then, when the clock radio cackled Sunday morning, my two little friends—John and Daphne—were up and at ’em. Usually I get clear of my back door without any family interactions. Making them breakie and giving multiple kisses and hugs had me hustling for my car instead of beating feet to Ellison’s. Oh, well, with no set program, it wasn’t like I was shirking my running duties. It felt liberating to let myself off the hook, especially for someone like me who, um, you might have noticed, follows a training plan to the l.e.t.t.e.r.
I really should hop on a schedule as I’m signed up to run the Race for the Roses on April 3. It’s a super-popular race here in Portland with three distances to choose from--I’m committed to the 10K. I know I’ll get my rear in gear eventually, but for now I’m relishing my freedom. If you’re a rule-follower like me, give it a try.