Following the Plan?

As spring is in the air, thoughts turn to the racing season and my on going struggle of whether to follow a training plan or not. I have run a lot of races and I confess that I have only followed a training plan for one of them. I know many people follow a plan and I have friends who stick rigidly to their plan, no matter what. I found that having a strict schedule did not work for me. I started well and knew what I had to do each day, but half way in, I started to lose motivation. It became a case of  having to run a certain distance at a particular pace.  Race day was fine but such a relief that it was over. Afterwards, I completely lost my interest in running. I did not want to run and couldn’t understand what had happened to me.  I thought about what it was I loved about running; how I love to explore different routes, how I love being outside, how it makes me feel happy and free and realised that for me, following the training plan had taken away the joy of running and turned it into a chore. It took a few months, but by running when and how I felt like it, without any agenda, I eventually began to look forward to running again.

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Now here we are again at the start of another race season, friends are again following strict plans and I am again wondering if I should too. They tell me their pace and ask me mine. I have no idea how fast (or slow) I run.  Yes, I would like to be faster and I am sure if I trained hard, I could be, but will I lose motivation again? It is often difficult not to compare yourself with others but my advice is to do what works for you. You may be like my friends, and do well with a strict schedule, or you may be like me and find that demotivating.

I have a 50K race towards the end of summer and although I have run that distance before, this will be on challenging terrain. My goal is to  finish this race upright and within the cut off time and so yes, I will train, but without following a strict plan. My training will be long runs/hikes in the mountains with friends, lots of climbing up and running down hills, core strengthening exercises and maybe a bit of yoga added in. I will let you know in September if this strategy worked!

rathon plan

 

 

Bring it on!

Aside

As you may know, (because I’ve gone on and on about it for ages) I reached the BIG birthday back in January.. I was 50! I had been a little worried about how I would feel, turning into another decade, but so far, so good. Although the fact that I decided to celebrate my birthday all year could have something to do with it! untitled (29)

Earlier this week, a (younger) good friend told me of how she was mistaken in a store for her child’s grandmother. She was understandably rather upset by this despite our reassurances.  Another friend was feeling down about all the changes that growing older brings to women, and I am slowly becoming resigned to the fact that I’m having to wear my glasses more and more. (Shopping recently at a race expo, I spied a cute jacket that I wanted. It was $80 which I thought was a bit much, but hey, I wanted to celebrate my race in style so I gave it to Mr True North to pay for with the rest of our haul. Apparently the bill came to more than he thought because he asked me what had cost $110. Nothing, I say… turns out that I need my glasses to read price labels too! Oops!)

Anyway, back to the point..Getting older. Happens to us all. Not much you can do about it. Totally inevitable. Doesn’t have to suck though!

When Mr True North was 50, our daughter bought him a book as a joke untitled (27)

http://www.amazon.ca/Younger-Next-Year-Strong-Beyond/dp/076114773X

Turns out it was the best present ever, as it acted as a catalyst for some major  lifestyle changes.( You should all read  this book, even if you are so young you think 30 is middle age, as it has really important and useful information)

Then I saw this commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo6QNU8kHxI  Watch it, even if you’ve seen it before as it is profoundly shocking in that so many illnesses are preventable with a healthy diet and exercise.

Over the years of being a runner, I’ve had many people question why I run with  negative comments such as ‘You’ll wreck your joints’ , ‘Your face will sag’, and even ‘Your insides will fall out’. I could go on and on about the many reasons I like to run, but this is one of the biggies.. I want to stay fit and healthy for as long as possible, even if I can’t see where I’m going!

747649-1014-0038sLooking a bit windswept after a Goofy birthday weekend

All You Need is Love

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This last week I have been reading some amazing blogs where the writer has written a letter of apology to their body. (See my blogging buddies at http://runninglovingliving.com/ and http://www.lovelifesurf.com/  )The sentiments are that often as we mature,  we come to love our bodies with all their perceived faults and flaws and are grateful for the things they do for us and are able to focus on what an amazing design we are rather than superficial complaints such as ‘my legs are too short, fat, thin’, or, ‘I wish my butt was bigger/smaller’. On that subject, I spent many years hating my butt because I was convinced it was huge – this was long before various celebrities made having an ample behind something fashionably desirable.

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(Sorry, I couldn’t resist that picture!)

Since I became a runner, it shrunk drastically and so I am still not fashionable! Oh well!

This got me thinking what a valuable exercise this can be, even if you don’t want to write a letter, it is good to look back on the things you used to dislike about yourself and compare them to how you feel now. As a runner, I no longer look at my legs and wish they were longer and thinner, but I see them as strong and powerful. I am impressed how far they can carry me, and am grateful that they haven’t let me down yet!  I have even been known to talk to them when I’m running, ‘Come on legs, you got this.’

However, I am still not getting a pedicure – toenails? Who needs ‘em?

Love_Your_Body_2010_Poster_by_thegreengiant

New Year, New You?

The presents have been unwrapped, turkey eaten, relatives visited and the tasteless sweater that Great Aunt Maude gave you has been consigned to the back of the closet. Phew… what’s next? Yes, it’s the countdown to New Year- possibly the most over rated holiday known to mankind.

Everyone wants to know what your plans are: eating out at a fancy, overbooked restaurant? Heading out to sample the nightlife? Or perhaps you’ll be partying with friends and relatives. Whatever your plans, there is the added expectation of the all important New Year resolutions. Do you make them? More importantly, do you keep them?

The main reason people make resolutions is to change something about themselves, or their lifestyle that they either don’t like, or think they shouldn’t like. Apparently the most popular resolutions are to lose weight, or to improve health in some way. I think we’d all agree that these are admirable and important changes, but, what we are really saying, is that there is something wrong with us, we are not good enough, we don’t like an aspect of our self, and think we should be more like someone else. Instead of allowing this negative state of mind, maybe we should love ourselves a little more and be kinder to ourselves.  After all, a promise that you will treat your body well, by giving it healthy foods and exercise so that it can work properly and efficiently is more likely to be successful than telling yourself that you are not as good as Perky Pam next door because you take a larger dress size than she does.

Be kind to yourself. Love yourself and your body, and if you do that, you will want to treat it well and those negative thoughts will be replaced by the question we should all  ask every day.. What can I do today to show my body that I love and value it?

“When you consider yourself valuable, you will take care of yourself in all ways that are necessary”. -M. Scott Peck