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Finding the Balance of Routine vs Freedom

One of my favorite bloggers to read, ChuckieV, once said “There’s little argument that structure may be nice for the mind—it certainly seems to evoke a calming effect for the type A’s amongst us—but it’s also worth bearing in mind that the human body doesn’t always respond favorably toward it. What’s good for the mind (a plan, for example) ain’t always good for the body.” I agree whole-heartedly with this sentiment but unfortunately, while it’s becoming less and less, I still tend to lean towards that analytic Type-A side of the spectrum when it comes to my training.

In life, including training, I fight a constant battle between needing routine and wanting freedom. This constant challenge presents the proverbial double-edged sword. At times, when I focus on the routine that prevents my freedom, it can be infuriating. Then I realize that the freedom that I do have is only provided by the routine that I follow. These small freedoms make the routine worth while and are where I try to spend most of my focus. It’s what allows me to enjoy whatever it is I may be doing at the time, whether it’s a 2hr trail run or a quiet dinner at home with Carrie.

With this yin-yang relationship in mind, I sat down with Carrie to lay out an idea of where I want to go with my training. The problem I have been having is a lack of desire to participate in events that I can do and the lack of endurance to take on events that I want to face. There are a number of triathlons around that have a certain level of appeal but when I stop and think about it, I just don’t care enough to put the time and effort in to training for it, my endurance desires are pushing me to try new and different things. I respect people that show up at races every year in order to see how much faster they can go, but speed doesn’t appeal to me. I want to go farther than I have, on a harder course than I have, doing something that challenges my beliefs of what my body will allow me to do.

Taking all this in to account, I asked Carrie to put together a training program with no end goal in mind. Instead of training for a race, I want to train to train. Like most of what pops into my mind, it sounds better in my head than out loud or in type but Carrie understood. I want to continue to get stronger and build my endurance in a way that will allow me to take advantage of the freedoms I have when they are presented to me. Essentially, I won’t be training for any races in particular for a while, only training and focusing on enjoying it. As the year progresses I will enter a few races here and there just to get out there and test my fitness level and get the competitive juices flowing. However, I won’t be setting any big goals until early next year, and even then we’ll see where my body has allowed me to go before making any decisions.

The benefit of having such an amazing coach, especially one that understands me so well, is that with all this jibberish and non-sense I have just spewed, Carrie was able to translate it into a legitimate training idea. Something different than anything I have done before which will allow me to have a routine to stick to ensuring I am getting quality training in yet gives me the freedom to allow my body and mind to dictate what I do and when I do it.

After the past few months of “maintenance” training, I’m very excited for this new direction we are taking things and can’t wait to see what happens!

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