Saturday, October 4, 2008

Running for Myself

Over the past few weeks, it has been a truly liberating experience to train without a plan. It really has re-instilled in me my true love for the sports I participate in. Each work out is no longer a race against the clock or a defined length that has to be completed. At the best of times I am not that good about following a plan, but knowing I don’t even have to acknowledge that a plan exists has been great.
Plans are great, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I wonder if we lose sight of what it is all about. We all started our participation in this sport for some reason, be it to lose weight, stress relief, or some other valid reason. And over time, we have developed a love of the training that extends beyond the reason we originally started. With very few exceptions, despite our whining, we truly love the blood, sweat and tears that come with being an endurance athlete. We head out every day with the hopes of the perfect run or swim or ride. Today is going to be the day when it is totally effortless and the thousands of miles I have put in will finally pay off is what we hope. But rarely does it happen. And yet we still head out religiously to try again.

The great weather has probably also helped to buoy my spirits as it has been just a fabulous fall. The temperatures have been +20 Celsius almost every day. Another thing that helped me to appreciate the whole training thing was the attitude of my brother Jim after his marathon in Toronto. While it wasn't the race he hoped for there was not even a brief mention of being disappointed with the result. It was all about the highlights of the run, being around like-minded people and sharing the experience with his family. That to me, is what the competition is all about. For me it was refreshing and a great reminder of why I enjoy the sport.

With the no plan schedule the workouts have been going great. I still have a long ways to go before I start a plan for Coeur d'Alene so I have been doing a lot of middle distance efforts, 2,000 metre swims, 8 - 10 mile runs, and 15 -20 mile bike rides. Because of the great weather I have been doing a little bit of mountain biking as it is so much more fun to ride off road. This week I will finish up with about 8 hours of training which is about where I want to be.

Musically I have added a few new albums to the iPod which is now over 5,300 songs. This weeks additions include Darius Rucker, "Learn to Live". Not quite what I expected but it is quite good. He is the former lead singer of "Hootie and the Blowfish" and this is a country album. I also added "Saving Abel", which is much in the vain of Nickleback or Breaking Benjamin.

I haven't posted pictures for awhile but here are some of the fall colours we enjoyed on our last MTB ride.

Have a great weekend!


Grellan said...

Isn't the "training" between plans just great. I'm already looking forward to post Amsterdam training, getting out on the bike for the first time since my tri in July and generally taking it easy. Weather and scenery looks amazing.

Love2Run said...

Isn't it great to just run for the sake of running and be able to enjoy just being able to do it? We're so lucky to have the gift of health and fitness. Run well!

TRI TO BE FUNNY said... awesome! I just finished my last big triathlon push for the year and it feels good to go out on a good note with a strong cycling effort. I still have two more running races, but I'm happy to know that I'm running for the sheer JOY of it!!

Jamie said...

Definitely nice to chill out on things and enjoy the training for the sake of training and nothing else.

Great pictures, that's a very beautiful area.

Sunshine Girl said...

Hi Gary!

A big HOWDY from Banff.
I would agree with just how great it is to enjoy some quality time on the trails or roads, in this fine corner of the world, at this time of year. Just for pleasure. Just for fun! It's fall, so no training schedule, no events, just some nice slow time to enjoy!