A Little Less Structure

At the end of a long racing season, I find it refreshing to take a little bit of time to have what I refer to as unstructured training.

When preparing for a marathon, an ironman or whatever one’s sport of choice is, it’s extremely important to have a plan in place so that reaching one’s becomes more attainable.  Speed sessions, hill repeats, tempo rides, endurance swims and so on are part of any given week with specifics as to how long to be in a certain heart rate zone, maintaining a particular wattage or running at an exact pace.

All of which I love.  In fact, it’s one of the small rewards each day, knowing that a key workout has been executed properly.

At the same time, in order to keep it interesting, I find that each year after Kona, a few weeks of  getting up and saying, “I think I’ll go on a trail run today” for no other reason than it sounds fun or taking the dogs on a hike is really important to keep the mind wanting the structure rather than pushing it all year long and running the risk of getting mentally bored with the process.

Once that happens, as with everything, the body follows along.

If you’re head’s not in it, it’s really tricky to keep at it.  That’s one of the reasons many clients report not having been successful in the past with eating or exercise regimes; they try to force something their not into.

Keep it fun, keep it fresh; this is our free time we’re talking about, so why not pick something we enjoy!   Choose intensity and volume when appropriate but also be sure to include some time for some good old-fashioned ‘play’.

Pictured: Our children, Daisy and Graham, last winter at age 12.