Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Planning the Journey

“…half of the joy of the journey is planning it; the other half is coming home and bragging about it.”
- Mike Moe from the book A Man’s Life: Dispatches From Dangerous Places by Mark Jenkins

I plan my journeys by surfing the internet for a good race to run. I look for just the right location, distance and type of race. I read race reports from runners who have finished in years previous. I look at maps, course profiles, weather reports and pictures of the scenery.

After a race is chosen I fill out a training schedule with the appropriate mileage and training components. I adjust for holidays, vacation and family schedules. I add races that will aid in my training for the peak race. I tweak it for days maybe even weeks until it is adjusted for optimum stress, challenge and recovery. And then I run …

On some training runs my planning is mental. I think about what the race will be like. Are there hills to conquer? Will I have rough spots? Will I have to be patient or should I push hard until I almost puke?

On most days though my planning is physical and I run so that my muscles will remember how and in the process get better at it. I run further as each workout builds on the previous to cover the optimum distance for the race that is planned so that I can reach whatever goal I have.

Lately I feel like my mooring has come loose and I am floating on the ocean aimlessly; without direction. I am not currently training for anything and it feels weird. I have no training schedule meticulously filled out in excel to indicate how many miles I should run today based on a number typed into a cell, printed out and taped to the inside of the door of the laundry room cabinet. I run on any given day based on what I feel like running knowing that I need to maintain some sort of base so I can plan another “journey” in the near future.

This morning without a plan I ran nothing. I’ll have to admit it was good to stay in my warm bed next to my wife but I am also scared on mornings like this that not running will become a habit. And that cannot happen.

Bragging about the last journey is getting old. In fact it got old after I told the story more than once. It is time to start planning for the next journey.