Train With Flexibility

“How was your daughter’s wedding?” – a friend asked.  “An absolute hoot!” was my response.  And it was.  I haven’t eaten that much cake nor danced so late into the night than that outdoor country wedding just a few weeks ago.  Looking at my training diary it appeared I did rather enjoy myself.  Nothing but goose eggs for a few days in late June.  Worth the break?  Without a doubt.

The majority of us read with keen interest the stories of elite runners who capture headlines of our favorite running magazines.  We zero in on their mileage, nutrition, pace, etc. without giving much thought to what else goes on in their lives.  Once we realize that their primary purpose of each day is to train – we all tend to become a bit envious.

Reality? Probably not.  Particularly for those of us with full time jobs.  Mix in family, social schedule, church/community activities, sleep, etc our schedules are maxxed out.  Training at times becomes an afterthought.  No focus, no time or the alternative where we cram in workouts stretching into others’ schedules.  Juggling weather, darkness, heat, car repairs, lawn mowing, snow, etc takes a toll. Many of these life demands are out of our control. This is where building flexibility into a training schedule has tremendous value.  Here is what has worked for me …

  • When traveling …keep your running gear close.  Find a trail – then swap out lunch for a run.  Conduct research before entering a new area.  Look for running trails, bike paths, or other runner friendly resources before landing in a new city or a trailhead between your home and final destination.
  • Weather … watch the forecast – look for impending cool fronts or high pressure systems that produce elements necessitating adjustments with your training.  See a major storm heading your way?  Plan ahead by moving a workout up or waiting a day or two letting the storm pass.
  • Others’ schedules…be respectful of other people in your life who may not have the high value of your daily fix (read: gotta run).  Go to bed earlier – slip out the door (quietly) before others get up and get your miles in.  This is why headlamps were invented.
  • Workouts …need an up tempo day with speed and find yourself away from your favorite track?  Trade a 400m mark for time on your watch.  Same training load, same physiological response, different environment.  Base this change in your training on effort over time.

Building your training with a high degree of flexibility is a wise decision.  Plan ahead! Get creative!  A bit of flexibility goes a long way in reaching your training and racing goals.  Still humming that song that I two stepped to…

Until next time – enjoy the run!

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