Without an upcoming race on my schedule, I feel a strange absence. It’s only been a week, you say? This may be true, but it’s been a week full of unplanned and unfocused workouts. What will I do today? I don’t know. Should I swim, bike, or run? Does it matter? Shouldn’t I have a plan?
I am an unrepentant planner. I like schedules, itineraries, checklists, and goals. I like a week-by-week calendar of workouts, neatly arranged in boxes with codes like “tempo” or “brick” or “easy pace.” I like that they all lead up to the main event, neatly entered into the box for the appropriate day, in boldface capital letters, the “RACE!!!” But I don’t have one of these now, so what should I do?
I’ll take it easy this summer, I thought. I’ll go on long bike rides in the country. I’ll start trail running. I’l swim whenever I feel like it. I’ll go to yoga all the time.
In thinking this, though, I seem to have conveniently forgotten that come June I would be teaching five days a week for the rest of the summer. Most of the available yoga classes overlap with my class. To squeeze in an early morning run, I’d have to get up at 5:00 AM. I could, you know. I could do that. But it is summer so I won’t. When you are just working out “whenever” and doing “whatever,” it’s too easy to let the demands of your regular work schedule overtake your workouts. It’s easy to say to yourself, “not today.”
I think I need to just own the fact that I like to have a little calendar of upcoming workouts and go ahead and make myself one, even if it isn’t leading up to a race day. I can fill in all the boxes with trail runs and long rides and the rare evening or weekend yoga class and print it out and hang it on my wall near my calendar, right where my half marathon schedule and my triathlon schedule once hung. I shall call it my Summer Fun Schedule. I plan to have fun, goddammit. FUN will be on the SCHEDULE.
But, looking ahead, I have other plans. Bigger plans. Well, tentative plans. I want to run a full marathon sometime this winter. There are a couple of options in mind: the Rocket City Marathon (Huntsville, December 11th 2010) or the Mercedes Marathon (Birmingham, Valentine’s Weekend 2011– this is the race where I ran the half marathon this year, but they also have a full marathon option). Relevant issues to consider: training for an event in December means starting the training program in August. When it is hot. Also, the Huntsville event website says they prohibit headphones. I’m not sure I could run for 4-5 hours without music. So maybe Birmingham? But I’m not sure. Birmingham is a double loop course, which might be psychologically more exhausting, running the same territory twice. Plus I have already done that race (the half, anyway) — is that a pro or a con? I’m not sure.
I guess the real question in deciding between these two races is this: do I want to start training for a marathon in August? Do I want August to be the month in which my carefree (HA!) schedule of do-whatever-I-want-whenever-I-want-to morphs into all running all the time? I’m just not sure. I suppose I will see how I feel in August, and how horribly hot the weather is at that time, and then decide.
So, that’s my plan. I plan to make a plan, and then I plan to decide on a plan to make. Do you have any thoughts or advice? What are your plans?