Learning to make time to get back on track

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten a little off track with my regular training schedule. Despite this not being good for my goals of improvement, there is something good that has come out of missing some training.

I’ve learned a couple of things about myself as a runner.

The first being that I miss running when I’m not doing it. Sometimes I’d walk outside and there would be a perfect breeze—one that would compliment a run perfectly—and I wish I had my running shoes. Then there were a couple days that I was just too busy with other things, (family, work, school, etc.) to fit one in and I’d stare out the windy and think what a great stress reliever a good run would be.

I’ve discovered that there’s no better feeling than the one you get when you just finish a run. You may be out of breath, maybe even have a side cramp, but you’ll never regret finishing a run. When I’m not able to get out there I miss is the feeling of accomplishment. No matter how fast or far I go, I always feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Secondly, I’ve learned the real negative side to missing a few runs. I was fooled by the fact that I was steadily improving with each of my runs and thought that if I missed a few runs I could just pick right back up where I was when I stopped. I was even naive enough to think I would still improve a little. I was wrong.

The longest I’ve gone without running was five days. Five, although a small number, is too many days to go in between runs. During my run after having five days off, it was almost as if I was back at square one in my training. After two miles I was just plain wiped out. Not only was I running slow for myself but I was also trailing behind my running partner, who I can normally keep up with, with no problem.

Although, it could have quite possibly been the worst run since my training started, it turned out to be just what I needed. There was nothing more motivating than realizing that you’re a worse runner than you were a week ago, simply because you hadn’t made time in the past five days to go for a run.

Since then I’ve learned that even a short run is better than not running at all. Even if I’m really short on time. If I make time to run a few times around my neighborhood, which is about two miles, instead of running the full four miles I would usually run with no time restrictions, I’m still accomplishing something. It’s the shorter runs that have helped to keep me on track with training since I learned what happens if you take too long of a break.

So my advice is to make time. I’m back in school now and although busier, I’m not going to allow it to be an excuse not to lace up my running shoes. Whether that means getting up an hour earlier, going to bed later or going to class sweaty from a run, I don’t plan on missing any more training days.


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