I had planned to write a blog about my running plan. Which was a great idea. Except I don’t really have a plan. I thought maybe I would create a new plan this year. I mean I’ve always wanted an actual running plan. Something to put on a calendar, of course. The idea of color coded routes and miles makes my heart happy. But I don’t have a plan. What I have is more like “running intentions.”
I mean I have a general schedule. Like I try to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Shorter runs during the week and longer runs on Saturday when I have a bit more time. Except I don’t always have more time. Because life. And weather. And orthodontist appointments. And sometimes kids get sick. And volleyball tournaments and gymnastics meets. And sometimes people need me to do other things. If I’m honest, I’ve only been able to get my feet in running shoes and on the pavement twice in the first two weeks of this new year. (See list of excuses above.)
So if you were hoping I was going to provide an awesome running plan, and share how I’ve figured out how to fit running in every day, I am sorry. This is not it. But, if you just want to be a runner, in the loose sense of the word that I use to describe myself, then I can share what I do to encourage myself to run.
Be firm but gracious. I start each “running day” with “RUN” on my to do list. And I try to protect that time and make it happen. But when things come up, and people I know and love need me, I give myself grace. I remember that people are on my priority list above running, and that tomorrow will present itself with new opportunities for running.
Having said that, these things make it easier to get out and do it:
- Have everything ready to go. I lay out my running clothes the night before, right down to my socks and headphones. I put that outfit on right when I wake up. If I’m ready to go, it’s so much easier to actually go.
- Have “go to” routes. I have three mile, six mile, and mile and a half routes that I can run without even having to think about it. I mapped them out years ago. I use the three mile as my day-to-day run, the six mile as my long run (unless I’m training for something longer), and my mile and a half for days when my time is really limited but I just want to get out there and get my heart rate up. On weekends when I have more time, I explore new routes or places to run. It is fun to mix it up so it doesn’t get boring, but it is also nice to have a run that can be done on autopilot.
- Know your body. Running with food and/or water in my stomach makes me nauseous. Really nauseous. And it takes most of the day to recover. For me, it is best to run first, and eat and drink later. So I plan my day around that. But I have friends that just can’t hit the road until they’ve had a cup of coffee, or oatmeal and a banana (I would surely throw up). Know what works and stick to that.
- Run with a pal. Know somebody who also wants to run? Having a friend that’s counting on running with you helps with accountability. And makes it so much more fun. Sign up for a race together. It’ll motivate both of you. I have a friend that works for Nike and we try to meet once a week to run the trails around the campus. Sure we end up running slower so we can hold a conversation too. Or we get the giggles, or one of us has cramps, and we have to stop and walk. But we do it. We move our bodies. And it is fun. It keeps us both running and getting to talk to a friend at the same time is sometimes even like free therapy. Makes for some great runs.
- Just run. Do whatever works, just do it, and keep at it. One step at a time.
“That’s the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.” – Kara Goucher, Olympic long-distance runner