Trying to get back into running after hitting such a personal milestone as a half-marathon has been harder than expected. I thought and thought and thought about what I needed to do. Usually my personal trainer, (AKA running coach, AKA workout Nazi, AKA husband) is the one who motivates me to lace up and take my happy ass to the road or treadmill…but I’ve noticed since completing that last race series that he’s laid off of me a bit. Which I find both flattering and annoying. Flattered because I know it means he thinks I’m doing a good enough job to trust that I’ll keep with it. Annoyed because now I don’t have someone pushing me out the door. Which means more work for me.
I brainstormed ways to get my running mojo back. I concluded that I needed something else telling me what to do, and when. Then it hit me: A Running Schedule! Of course! Why didn’t I think of this three years ago when I began this journey?!
With that, my running schedule was born. I photo-copied a summer’s worth of days and went to work. I pulled up good ol’ Hal Higdon’s half-marathon training plan and tweaked it a bit to fit my personal (crazy) schedule. My running coach moonlights as a teacher during the school year, so with summer vacation upon us I made my long runs on Monday’s, which I also have off. I gave myself two rest days. Wednesdays, because I work late, and Sunday’s. Sunday because now I’ll have a whole day to spend with my family to look forward to each week. I figured that at least once per week I’d take a 3-mile day to do speed work. Those days I plan on getting up early and going before my day starts, since I (should) only be at the gym for about 24 minutes.
I also sprinkled in some races for good measure. Plus, I really like them. I find that the more races you can get in, the more prepared you’ll be for anything else down the road. Since I race harder than I train I’ll let myself out of my long run on the weeks I have a race. That’s fair, right?
I can’t believe the difference this schedule has made in my runs. Somehow training is easier and I’m doing better than last year! Here are the reasons I think YOU should make a running schedule if you’re training for a specific race:
– You know what’s expected. I hung my schedule up at the bottom of the stairs, right next to the front door. Its somewhere everyone looks, probably the most high-traffic area in the house. (Well, next to the bathroom mirror maybe. Four women in my house. Four.) Pre-schedule “schedule” was hubs telling me what I had to do that day on my way out the door. I think his rationale was that I wouldn’t have time to think, therefore wouldn’t have time to complain and sulk. The reality is, is I seem to do better when I know what I have to do. Likewise, I seem to enjoy rest days more when I know when to expect them. My rest days have shifted to actual days, rather than whatever day I didn’t fit in a run.
-Everyone else knows what to expect. Like I mentioned, my schedule is up for everyone to see. So I have everyone in my house (everyone who can read, that is) to answer to. When your eight year old daughter asks you if you’ve run your scheduled six miler today, you’ll be surprised how much it feels like being called on by the teacher when you weren’t paying attention. You just want to give the right answer. Guilt can be a powerful motivator.
-You have more help. When there is a set-in-stone (or set-in-copy paper) running schedule, everyone can help you! Maybe your mom says she’ll keep your kids an extra hour in the afternoon so you can get to the gym. Maybe your kids fold the towels so you can get your butt out the door without having something nagging in the back of your mind. Maybe your husband springs for a part-time housekeeper when he realizes how much work Cinderella has to get done before taking her glass running shoes to the half-marathon ball…just maybe 😉
-Satisfaction of a job well done. No, really. I have a big, fat, red Sharpie on the window sill next to my schedule. I happily mark each day I complete with a big, fat, red X. It’s so rewarding to actually see all of the progress I’ve made every time I walk out the door. Its equally motivating to get my butt into gear when I notice a few of the days are NOT crossed off (hey, you can’t expect perfection!) The fact that visitors will also see how hard I’ve been working is just a bonus.
So anyone who needs an extra little something to add to their running regimen, I would definitely suggest a running schedule. My runs are easier, my times are better, and I’ve actually enjoyed more time working out than I used to.