I started training recently for a half Ironman race in December. One that I may not actually want to travel for, but I decided it was time to train for something.
Actually, I’m not swimming…but biking and running each three times per week along with strength training. This is exactly the same routine as I have had since COVID started – except that I will be building distance and therefore doing more than I have been doing.
Without a training plan, I have a minimum bike ride time and have been going for a standard run. However, if I wasn’t feeling up for the standard run on a specific day, then I would do less. And quite often I decided to go a little farther. With a training plan I don’t give myself that option unless I really think I’m in over training mode or really feeling crummy.
Thus, it was hilarious when, after just starting to follow a training plan, I was begrudging running the distance on my plan – which was actually less distance than my ‘standard’ run since March. Absent a training plan, I probably would have run at least as far as my plan requires, but because I would have the ‘requirement’ to run that far, it would have felt different. In other words, in my head I would have thought “I can turn around anytime, just keep going a bit”, and that would have gotten me probably at least to my usual turn around. But now I thought “I’m not feeling great, and I have to run this set distance, arg”.
This pushing because I “have” to is what I love about training plans. I feel better in the end and I look forward to pushing further than I have been lately!
Not everyone reacts this way to a training plan, but we must each find what motivates us and what feels good in our own bodies. And to allow ourselves to shift over time and with the seasons. Until now it felt right to be more loosey goosey (in part because there was no race). Now it feels right to follow a plan (and pretend there will be a race….hopefully but the way COVID is going, the chances are low).