Here’s the short version of this post: this summer I implemented a new workout routine called “do whatever feels good” and it was incredible.
To me, this was revolutionary. As anyone who knows me personally (or has at least read this blog for a while) can tell, I am a Type-A personality. Since I started running, I have craved structure. I put a lot of my attention on measuring my progress. I was somewhat inflexible about sticking to a training plan, and believed that the harder I trained, the better I would be at running, yoga, etc.
Then, at the end of last year I started to feel burnt out, so I dialed back a little, but still wanted to stick to a training plan, without really taking a break. This spring, I dealt with the flu and injury, and was again feeling a little run down, mentally and physically. I made the tough decision to not train for a fall road half marathon, and to take a break from training.
It’s hard to explain how good this was for me. First, it taught me be less rigid. Without worrying about making sure I got in a particular workout each day, I was more flexible. If I didn’t have time to go run in the morning, it was okay because I could always go to the climbing gym in the afternoon. If a friend wanted to take a yoga class together, I didn’t have to say, “No, thank you, I’ve got ___ on tap today.” If I needed an extra rest day, I took it.
Second, Nick and I got so much more out of our weekends. Instead of going out on a two hour run, and then spending the rest of Saturday afternoon exhausted, we got out to do things. We crossed so many items off our bucket list, like Red River Gorge and Mammoth Cave. I definitely took my intention to hike more head on. Also, if I had been focused in on training, I also don’t think I would have taken to climbing as much as I have.
What I ended up with these past few months has been a pretty even balance between running, yoga, and climbing. Throw in a few barre classes, weekend hikes, and even some paddling, and it was a great summer.
All in all, I feel stronger. I managed to stay injury-free for the first summer in a few years. I also proved to myself that sometimes less is more by placing at my first race back. Additionally, and maybe more importantly, my friendships feel stronger, because I’ve had more time and energy for my friends.
I definitely still want to race, and am looking forward to preparing for my trail half marathon this fall, but after this summer I have a different outlook on what my training can look like.