Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Flip Side of "I don't have to, if I don't want to"

I have been stressing a little bit without a training plan. I realize thats silly given that I'm not a competitive athlete by any stretch of the imagination. But it gets under my skin when I think to myself, "I don't have to if I don't want to" I might forsake any semblance of fitness. Admittedly this has never happened before, yet I worry about it. Since FirmMan I was only at the pool 1 time in 10 days. I've only been out on my bike for a spin around the neighborhood with James (on the old hybrid) or on the trainer, no long rides. My runs have been slow slow slow. I hate running slow. It makes me feel like a hippopotamus.  Having a plan makes the world feel orderly. It makes me accountable. And it eliminates waffling from the equation. Without a plan if I'm not in the mood, or I'm distracted, or I'm irritable, what is there to make me get out there?

Yesterday I was psyched to finally go to a masters' swim class. I got up early, put on a new swimsuit and was at the pool by 6:45, 15 minutes early. But, guess what, no one was there. And no one showed up! I don't know what happened to the class. I waited until 7:06 before calling it quits. This screwed with my plan for the day. I had wanted to swim early and ride midday. The other pool is crazy on Saturday mornings and I didn't want to deal with it. So I came home and jumped on the trainer. 2 hours sounded good. I consulted my Workouts in a Binder and pieced together a longish big gear session. It was a blast. First long workout since the race. But then by midday, when the pool again has lap hours I didn't want to go. James pushed me out the door and I thought to grab my new paddles as I went. I did a quick 2000yd set with 400warm up, 400 paddles, 400 pull (no paddles), 400 paddles, 400 pull and cool down. It was very fun. The paddles make me feel like a beast (in a good way)! 12 strokes to a length, sure, why not! This morning, I had been hoping for a longish run. I woke up and didn't want to go. But it was gorgeous out. I decided I'd jog to the track and then do laps until I decided I was done (this can be 3 miles or 10, depending on the day). When I arrived there were hundreds of pee wee flag football kiddos and parents and siblings littering track and field. Not ideal conditions for track work. So I decided I'd just run a mile hard then leave. After a mile, and a little rest I decided I'd run another. Then a third. And a fourth. I've never done mile intervals before. On the one hand they were slow by track work standards (and uneven, with big builds in the 4th lap of each mile). On the other hand these are the fastest miles I have run in a long time. Then I walked home.  It took a while for me to wrap my head around it but no training plan also means I can swim with paddles and not worry about being too sore for the next workout or I can run intervals on Sunday if I want to.  And I realized:
The flip side of "I don't have, if I don't want to" is "If I want to, I can."


  1. In the off season, atheltes tend to pick something to work on, for example

    1- the most popular approach is working on your weakest link in your race. If you are a slow runner, then your focus will be run heavy all winter with a sprinkle of swim and bike to stay fit

    2- working on your base endurance, this is for someone who plans on jumping up in distance like HIM to IM, getting your body ready for longer distances and a slow pace

    3 - Getting stronger and faster (this is what I am doing) I am working on lifting weights and getting faster on the bike.

    I hope this helps a little

  2. I agree with you on this; "I don't have to if I don't want to"

    I also shared the same sentiments on running slow...