For about 6 weeks, give or take, I’ve been running however much and however often I damn well please. I have taken the following steps during this process:
- Ditch my Garmin and run by feel.
- Give up my idea of how many miles a run needs to be to be “worth it” (previously 6 miles) and run as long or as short as I feel like running.
- No set schedule of days I have to run – just go on the days I want to go, whether that’s 3 days in a row or a week off.
I have to say, it’s been glorious and just what I needed. Although I initially found myself worrying that 6 weeks wouldn’t be enough time off to get my marathon mojo back (yeah, things were really in the toilet there for awhile), I’m pleased to say that I’m refreshed, ready, and excited to start a new training plan on February 2! In fact, I’ve found myself counting down the days.
There’s just one small problem. I accidentally started my plan on January 19.
And while you’re thinking “It’s literally impossible to accidentally start a training plan,” it’s actually not.
I ran according to the above-prescribed rules last week. And when I sat down and logged my miles, I realized that I had actually completed Week 1 of my plan. I thought about it further and determined that by starting a couple of weeks early, I would be able to give myself a grace period over our honeymoon to Argentina in April and not have to stress out about getting in a long run while in the Patagonia.
Most importantly, I feel ready to start again. I’m excited about the upcoming weeks! I’ll be using the Hal Higdon Marathon Novice Plan, which I guess might seem a little odd considering I’ve run 47 marathons. I decided to use this plan because it’s still a step up from the running I’ve been doing since my surgery – I’m bumping up to 4 times a week from 3 times a week. However, I will probably transition slowly into this and do 4 times a week every other week for awhile and see how it goes. This plan includes no speed work and is just about getting in steady base miles. That will help me keep the pressure off myself, and there is a pretty good chance I’ll do the entire training plan without my Garmin and just run by feel.
I suppose there is also a chance that I’ll get halfway through marathon training and just not feel like doing it anymore, but I’m hoping that won’t happen. If it does, though, I think I am at a place in my life where I can be ok with that. The 6 weeks I’ve taken off have shown me that I do love running, but I might get into training and realize that I don’t exactly love that.
When I first started running a few years ago, people used to ask me pretty frequently “What are you running from?” I always lied and said nothing. Today, it’s a different story, because I feel like I’m running towards something – happiness with my life and contentedness with myself. I don’t know how many miles it will take to get there and I don’t know how fast or slow they’ll be, but I do know that what matters is that I enjoy every step the way I am right now.