Oh yes, big changes. Huge unexpected changes… after almost 6 years of running every single day, today I broke the streak! While flu, snow, 24+hour flights and all manner of injury hadn’t stopped me, today I made a simple decision to quit daily runs – and that’s exactly what I did.
So what prompted the change you may well ask. Getting serious about running I would answer. But surely getting serious about running means more mileage you may say, to which I would say two words “junk miles”!
If you read any training book, article or blog, you will always find something somewhere written about junk miles, but I like many other runners have ignored all the warnings. I had my own reasons for running every day, and it worked very well for me for 5 years (See blog post Streakers! for more details). It wasn’t like I would run hard or fast or long every day, but without fail I knew from the minute I woke up that sometime during the next x many hours before midnight I would need to get out and complete a minimum of 1 full mile running. I very rarely only did one mile, my short runs generally coming in between 3- 5km and my weekly totals averaged around 50km throughout the year, but the fact I know I had to do it became a way of life for me and those around me, everyone knew that whatever the weather, whatever was happening, wherever I was, I would go and run.
But… things change. I have now committed to training to try and qualify for the Half Ironman and the Full Ironman World championships, and I decided to take a coach to help me get there. The plan he gave me is very structured compared to what I am used to and requires me to take a different approach. I did a full Ironman just two months ago so I know I am pretty fit, or that is what I thought, and to be honest the training program Coach wrote me isn’t that much more volume compared to what I did before, but it is more intense, more focused and I feel it in every muscle, bone and sinew of my body.
On Wednesday I had two hour break between meetings to get to the pool, change and swim 3k of intervals. All went well until I started to run up the stairs to get to my next meeting, when a wave or tiredness swept over me, I felt exhausted both mentally and physically. Luckily my meeting was in a coffee shop so I sucked up donuts and chocolate cake along with my café latte to regain enough energy to focus on my work. However it was obvious my new training regime on top of my daily runs was wearing me down (plus 2 x swim lessons and 2 or 3 x weight training which are all additional to the 7 weekly sessions coach has given me) and something had to give. And the obvious answer was to junk the junk miles, stop running just for the sake of putting a number in my daily training diary, and instead try to make sure that every work out has a reason, and that each calorie burnt will have positive impact on my goals.
Yes, really was that simple so yesterday instead of running I had a hot bath. Today I had a slow day, but I managed my 70 minutes interval run fine, actually faster than last week. Tomorrow I will probably do a short brick run after the bike session, and I will still go to the track when I can, so in all likelihood I will only cut around an hour running per week.. but the mental relief is huge, and the fact my body will get a rest from running at least twice a week will bode well for injury prevention and health.
Over the next two years of my challenge I feel there will be a lot of changes to how I train, how I think and how I live my life, but I am ready and eager to embrace them. This feels real and it feels good, I like to believe I have taken a step forward, and although the run streak helped me get to where I am today, I am ready to leave it behind as I strive to make the next steps.
Of course, I will need to consider if I should keep my blog the same name. I don’t need to get the run done every day anymore, and my focus is on tri rather than running… Would love to hear any comments you may have.
Please feel free to follow me by clicking the “follow” box floating at the bottom right hand (to get updates of new posts), and if you find this interesting please “like it” and/or leave a comment at the bottom of each page.