I haven’t really posted about my actual training in a while or where I want it to go. I post my training log and progression since coming back from my break, but quite frankly I’m just running. I am enjoying the journey to get back to fitness and taking it one step at a time. I have no interest in training for a big marathon (or a small one), and I don’t have a goal race picked out for any distance. Thinking out loud, I’m just slowly working my way back.
And you know what?
I’m enjoying how my running is going right now. I have absolutely no pressure to do anything (not that I ever had pressure beforehand) but now I have even less pressure. In training and sometimes even life, I’ve always been one to fly by the seat of pants. Now more than ever, that is relevant. With my husband’s career, I can’t tell you I’ll be in New Jersey for the next year. I can’t sign up for a race 6 months out because I don’t know. We didn’t know we would go down to Alabama for 6 weeks last January, until a couple of weeks beforehand. I missed races I had signed up before in NJ during that time.
In my training, I normally have a rough outline of the runs and workouts I want to do for the week, but I never have an exact plan written down.
For instance, during a training week, my thoughts begin like this: This week I’ll attempt to run between 40-45 miles with five miles of speed somewhere…is it a race…maybe I’ll have to see what is around…if nothing works with my schedule, I’ll just do a workout. That is the extent of my scheduling and planning.
So Does Not Planning Really Help Me?
I have actually found that it does and it does a lot. First of all, I’m not obsessed with pace. I don’t care. I could run 10 miles at 10-minute pace or 10 miles at 8-minute pace. It’s still 10 base miles. I’ll run with anyone that wants to run, whether you run a 10 minute or 8-minute mile. That’s why I rarely post paces online, Instagram, or anywhere. Because I don’t know and honestly, for training runs…I don’t really care.
When talking with a friend, I realized that it hasn’t always been that way for me.
I used to be obsessed with pace and numbers. There was a point in my running career that I would run in the same 10-second pace range for every run of the week. That pace was between 7-7:10. Do you know what I gave myself? The glorious gift of a tibial stress fracture on my 21st birthday.
Not to mention, during that period I never got faster, and I was miserable the entire time. I was so antsy in training if my overall pace was 7:11+ and thought I had lost my all endurance. It sounds silly now, but that is what the new runner in me thought.
Train fast to go fast. Race myself and try and get faster every day.
For stat purposes: during that time of my running career, my 5k PR was 20:10. I ran about 50 miles a week between 7-7:15 pace.
Now it’s 18:13 (and I had to look LOL). During that time in training, I was running 60 miles a week with about 50 above 8:30 or even 9-minute pace.
My half marathon PR then was 1:36.56…now it’s 1:22.57.
But the most crucial piece is I enjoy going out to run without worrying about it. For me, running is a hobby, and it’s something I want to do lifelong without stress.
So for me personally, not caring about pace has turned into continuing to improve on running. Last fall, when my coach and I focused on paces, I found myself in a similar situation. Burnout and not improving.
I can’t tell anyone how to train and what works for them and nor do I want too. I’m telling you how liberating it is for me to be carefree about pace.
What it took for me to get to that point to relax my training wasn’t easy. Honestly, without being injured or burnout, I don’t think I would have gotten here. From injury, I quickly learned my body doesn’t respond well to fast runs every day.
I think I should have renamed my blog CasualLOLZ or something.
Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury
Questions for you:
What are your thoughts?
Do you schedule workouts every day or fly by the seat of your pants?
I think this is awesome! With as much running and racing as you do, it should be fun. I’m glad you’ve found the type of training that works for you!
I love this post and it’s one of the many reasons I live following you! I usually like to have a plan when training to make sure I’m not doing too much and end up injured!
I also wanted to ask you what your opinions are on shoe inserts like Superfeet and if they’re truly beneficial?
Thanks for always being so open and honest with your training and sharing your knowledge! 🙂
I appreciate you reading Megan. I think Superfeet inserts are the best insert if you need it (without a custom orthotic). Are they for you? Send me an email at fueledbylolz at gmail dot com and let me know what’s going on and I can give you a better idea!
Thanks for the reply! I don’t have anything specific going on, I was just curious if there’s any added benefit to wearing them? I’ve heard they make you more efficient but I’ve also heard they make your feet weaker!
Superfeet are like running shoes. They have their benefits for people who need that support but it’s hard without looking at your feet to know. I will say I recently got a pair of superfeet casual shoes and I love them.
Totally understand. My running store recommended them, but I’ve heard they recommend them to everyone, so
I wasn’t sure if I actually needed them or if it was just for a sale (they’re not cheap
So I don’t want them if I don’t need them). Thanks again for the response!
I do schedule workouts, but I’ve done a lot of them as effort-based workouts, especially with the heat here. Like you, I have races most weekends and so I feel like I *have* to schedule any workouts because of that- as well as scheduling easy and recovery days. If I want to do some non-race speedwork, I need to plan for that on Tues/Wed- but following a hard plan, every single day, is very overrated and can lead to injuries or burnout. You’ve got to listen to your body- you know how YOU feel better than some book or piece of paper with paces on it.
I feel like people put way too much emphasis on pace rather than just consistently running. Last night after the Fleet Feet Pub Run, this lady asked me what our pace was for the three mile run. I told her I didn’t know. She was shocked that I wasn’t monitoring my watch and pace on an easy run (truthfully I spent the whole time running talking to friend anyway and we got lost).
it’s nice to not have extra pressure. i did the same thing this summer… i decided not to race a half marathon because i didnt want the pressure of build-up AND intensity. i’m finally at a point where i feel like i could properly train for a half now. but it took a while to get there. i definitely enjoyed the zero-pressure buildup! 🙂
Happy you are having fun with running again…..The beautiful of running is there’s no one size fit all way to do it. YOLO
Do it your way is the best way.
I love this post. It takes me back many years ago to the book, Long Slow Distance by Joe Henderson. It is very true that we can get faster by training slower and that book gives several examples of how it worked for some very good runners. I have trained this way the entire 40 years that I have run and I don’t think I would have made it those 40 years any other way.
THIS!!! I didn’t speed up until I got out of the monotonous pacing zone either. It was when I slowed waaaaay down on most runs that I began to see a marked improvement. But, now I’m fat, slow and very pregnant lol so there is def ZERO pressure. Except on my bladder. Constantly. I’m sharing your post with my small running group on FB because your words are so spot on. Maybe after baby, I’ll pick some races back up…
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