Discipline Equals Freedom
There are many reasons to be disciplined in your running paces and recovery work. First and foremost, it’s crucial to maintaining health and preventing injuries. Completing runs at paces* that are too fast for their intended purposes, especially easy (or “recovery”) runs, greatly increases the chance of overtraining, illness, or overuse injuries. That should be reason enough to stick to your appropriate pacing and not skimp on recovery work like stretching and rolling. However, maintaining such discipline in your running has another, often overlooked benefit: Flexibility when scheduling workouts.
I ran a 5K this past Saturday, and had originally planned my next track workout for Wednesday. However, the weather conditions for that day (4-6 inches of snow), as well as Thursday (snow covered track, 15-25 mph winds) certainly won’t be ideal for a quality workout. Friday I’ve got a babysitter lined up and it’s date night. I like being alive, so I’m not going to cancel or push that back in lieu of a track workout. If you’re married with kids, work to make this practice at least a monthly thing. Great for your health and well-being as a couple, and something I’m working on getting better at myself. I digress.
By completing a thorough recovery routine after my race Saturday, staying disciplined in my long run pace Sunday, doing some active recovery Monday, and getting adequate sleep throughout, I’ll be ready to bump that track workout up to Tuesday.** Doing this will allow me to get two quality workouts in this week (Tuesday/Saturday) instead of waiting until the weekend and only doing one. You may be thinking that missing one quality workout isn’t a big deal, right? While this may be true big picture, success in running is cumulative and comes from consistency. One workout here or there may be the difference between that age group award or, more importantly, a personal best.
Maintain flexibility in your training schedule by honoring the easy pace of your easy runs, take your recovery routines like stretching and rolling as seriously as the running you do, and be sure to get adequate sleep! This time it was the weather that forced a change. Next time it could be a sick kiddo, unforeseen work commitment, car trouble, you name it. Being truly disciplined in your running routines will give you the freedom to alter your training schedule and more consistently advance toward your goals!
*Not sure about what pace you should be running? This is one way that a coach can be extremely helpful. Contact me for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Because this workout is a day ahead of schedule, I will be a bit more cautious than usual during my warmup, as well as the start of the workout itself. If I’m feeling like I haven’t entirely recovered enough from the weekend, I’ll shorten the workout, get some easy miles, and regroup for the next one!