coaching running

Of Plans

Man. My first half marathon is just over 3 weeks away. I know this not because I’m hyperaware of time. I’m not counting down the days like a kid in the last weeks of school before summer break. I’m just sort of plugging along on my runs and looking forward to May 1. But today, my friend reminded me that it’s nearly three weeks out. This information has me reevaluating how I’ve trained, if we can call it that, for this particular race, again, if we can call it that.

I have a loose plan, an amalgam of thoughts gathered from experts and friends and my own uninformed opinions. My decision to run a half marathon was made like many of my decisions. It popped into my head, I examined it for a long time, like maybe 4 minutes, and I decided I could totally do that.

I resisted a training regimen as long as I could. But when I asked my friend to run the half with me she consented with the caveat that I train with her. And I agreed to that, knowing that she wanted to follow a plan. I hate plans. They make me tense. They make me feel like every move has been decided ahead of time by someone who does not inhabit my skin or my toes or my legs or my attitude. I mean, some days, I don’t want to run 5 miles, I want to run 6, but that daggum plan is so pushy and demanding.

Poking around the know it all internet for even five minutes will demonstrate that plans abound for running a half marathon. My running buddy follows a this one, my running “coach” follows another one. They contradict each other. “It’s just running,” I think. Everyone with working legs can do that. Why do I need a plan? Why can’t I just go out and run? To see what I can do?

I’m not saying training isn’t important. You don’t just wake up and run 13.1 miles for kicks. These plans seems to suck the fun and spontaneity out of the effort. And they negate the individual; I want to have fun, I want to experiment, I want to fly. Boiled down, the plans are just so serious. I think I’d rebel against any plan, and yet, I’m following one. But loosely.

When the reminder email popped up today, I felt so conflicted. Her plan, his plan, my own “plan.” What’s a girl to do? Well, I will take what I like from all three and make my own. And I’m gonna crush those 13.1 miles. (Even though it also kills me to add .1 to the 13.)

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