Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The key to happy running!

No matter how long you have been a runner, I think there will always be something new to learn or discover. As I've only been running for just over two years consistently, I am constantly learning new things and hope that I will for the rest of my running life. One of the most important running lessons I have learned is flexibility!

I started running to lose weight. That was it, no big goals other than lose weight, maybe run some 5Ks and hopefully, one day, to comfortably run 5 miles. Running was something that I tried to make fit into my life; some days it fit, other days it did not. Fast forward two and a half years, and running is actively scheduled into my week. I find that if I put it on the calendar, it makes life so much easier. No longer am I wondering how/when I will be able to fit in a run, Jeff knows when I'm running and we plan things around it. Or I plan my running around our schedule. Either way, but it is scheduled. Running is important to me. My running is important to my family, too, as it makes me a less cranky happier wife and mommy!

That being said, in training for my second marathon, I have learned that flexibility is key for me. I am really enjoying being able to swap days if a group run comes up that I want to join, or if our family schedule changes. Last year while training for Air Force Marathon I stuck to THE PLAN. I only deviated from THE PLAN if I was hurt. I did not switch days. I did not take a day off when tired (if THE PLAN said, run, I ran.) I did not do speed work. I got through my training...I was a slave to my training plan. Now, I am just in week four of my training plan, but I am really hoping that as my mileage increases, I continue to feel the same way. Not many people know that I almost decided NOT to run The Cleveland Marathon because I could not face the fact of running when I HAD to, instead of when I WANTED to like I had been doing since Air Force Marathon. Running had become really fun for me again and I did not want that to change just because I started training again.

So far, it seems to be working for me. I am hitting my mileage goals, I am hitting my goals on my speed workouts. I am HAVING FUN! There will be weeks when I struggle, when I do not hit my goals, but I believe that if I maintain my flexibility and continue to have fun, that it will be easier to get back on track.

Do you train strictly by THE PLAN, or do you keep your training flexible?


  1. I agree with you.. I especially feel this is true as I age.. if I don't maintain flexibility, I get injured. Hmm.. it just dawned on me.. it's like that with my kids too..if I'm not flexible they punish me..

  2. LOL, Lisa! So true about the kids!

  3. This happened to me, too.  My first marathon I was so dedicated to the plan and never strayed.  And I kinda made the people around me miserable in the process.
    My last marathon I was a lot more flexible and had a lot more friends in the process.  :) 

  4. Last year, I trained without a purpose or plan except that I wanted to get a lot of mileage and run my first full marathon.  I ended up hurt and undertrained.  So far this year, I'm following Higdon's Advanced 1 marathon plan pretty religiously and it's made a big difference.  I'm seeing the results that I want to see, I'm (knock on wood) staying injury-free, and I have lots of short-term (daily and weekly) goals to check off.  Sure, I'll be flexible when I need to, but other than slightly exceeding the mileage here and there, I've only deviated from the plan 3 times in the past 40 days and once was because I got confused on which day it was.  :)  The plan works for me and my busy to-do list life.


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