What's Next?

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?


  1. Good plan! I’m the same way — I like to have a schedule. It’s nice to be able to mentally check that item off once I’m done, you know? And it’s great to view it as scheduling FUN, because, you know, it is. Mostly 🙂

    And personally, I would probably not like doing a double loop marathon, but then again, I don’t think I’d like doing a marathon, period. And if you start training in August, by the time you’re doing the really long runs, it’ll be cooling off, which would be great.


  2. A) We can do the Watermelon Carnival 5K again if you wish. I’m going to start the couch to 5k training in the gym again this week.
    B) Can you do the running inside, on a treadmill, at least until the weather cools off?
    C) I vote for Huntsville, because Birmingham is “been there, done that.” Also, it’s right before your birthday & we could make an event out of it! Oh, because I will be there, wherever it is!


  3. You already know my opinion on this matter — Rocket City all the way! You will have a place to stay and people to cheer you on at the finish line. I don’t know if I would be able to get past the no earphones thing though, so I’ll understand if that’s a dealbreaker.


  4. I’m thinking more and more that Huntsville would be perfect. I just have to make sure it doesn’t conflict with final exams (which are occasionally given on Saturdays…bleh).

    The headphone/music thing? Well, I am trying to run without them to see how it goes (OK so far), but I think in these situations sometimes people wear them anyway. Not sure yet.

    Clarabella — the Watermelon 5K is so on! (Once again, as long as it doesn’t conflict with summer finals).

    AND, I guess I am off to view the final exam schedules.


  5. A glance at both the Summer and Fall exam schedules reveals no reason why I can’t do the Watermelon 5K and Huntsville both. All righty then, no excuses!


  6. I’m the exact same way. One thing I’ve found in my “off” time is to go to more classes – yoga, spin, etc. Since they are at certain times, it’s easier to hold myself accountable and feeds the Planning Monster that lives inside my brain. You can also schedule workout dates with someone, even if they’re just for fun – long rides are good with a buddy!

    And I hate double loop courses! So mentally exhausting. I even avoid them when I’m training!


  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one like this! I am about to head off to body pump class right now, actually! And I have added a 5K at the beginning of August, so I’m working on speed a bit now, too. Re the marathon on a double loop — I’m thinking that one is definitely out…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s