This week, I decided to break free from the training plan life! Here’s why:
1. Running is not my job.
Did you know that nobody is paying me to run? It’s ridiculous. So why do I always put running first?
I used to justify making running a priority because I was afraid I’d put on all the weight I’d lost. But I’ve known for a couple years now that I don’t need to run a bunch of miles to stay fit. More likely, it’s about procrastination.
There’s this thing I do where I focus on things I don’t really need to focus on in order to not focus on the things I should be focusing on. Got that? I use running to run from the hard stuff.
I have other things I want to do in my life and they don’t necessarily involve running. So I need to step back from obsessing about training plans and pie-in-the-sky running goals for a while and make these other things a priority. Mmmm. Pie.
This doesn’t mean I get to live the sloth life. Short sprinting and weights sessions usually take less than 30 minutes (and are better for me…read on).
2. Slow running wasn’t fun.
Now that I’ve expelled the marathon bug from my system (which was a painful process, I should add), I only want to focus on things I love to do. MAF was a struggle. MAF running was slow, boring and my foot hurt after. Also I wanted to eat all the things.
I didn’t love it. And I think we all know by now that if you aren’t having fun, you won’t do it. And that’s what was happening to me.
I do, however, love to sprint. I love the feeling of pushing myself to the edge and then taking a nice relaxing break. Sprint intervals are the yin and yang of running.
Yesterday, I did one of my favorite interval workouts on the treadmill. I can’t remember where I got it, maybe from Metabolic Effect. If you’re looking for a good sprint workout, you should try this one. (The best part is it’s only 20 minutes!)
First, of course, warm up for 5-10 minutes. My pre-sprinting warm-up routine usually consists of 5 forward lunges on each leg, 5 backward lunges on each leg, 5 side lunges on each leg, 10 forward leg swings on each leg, 10 backward leg swings on each leg, and then I jog for 5ish minutes. I also sometimes throw in the walking knee pull. (Here’s a great warm-up from Lauren Fleshman.)
Okay, here’s the 20-minute sprint workout:
Sprint for 20 seconds, then walk slowly for till your heart rate slows, then sprint for 30 seconds, walk till your heart rate slows again, then sprint for 40 seconds, walk, then sprint for 60 seconds. Do that for as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. Boom done. Love it.
I usually do this on the treadmill, but I think it would be even better outside.
Note: Make sure you are walking slowly between sprints and letting your heart rate come back to normal before you start sprinting again. This fast-slow thing is what makes it work. Read more about rest-based training here.
3. I want to build a lean body.
I’ve been working toward this for a while. I get close, and then I go and do something stupid like sign up for a marathon. Distance running and my body don’t get along. In fact, I think I might be allergic to it. I get super puffy. (Also, thinking about it, I think a marathon is almost as much of a mental challenge as a physical one. And I have enough mental challenges thankyouverymuch.)
Since I’ve stopped doing so much running, I’ve actually felt better physically…and mentally! I enjoy lifting weights, and I already know that it will help me get lean and strong.
If you’re interested in some great weights workouts, check out Jen Sinkler and Lift Weights Faster. (Sort of weights and cardio in one.) Here’s a sample LWF workout from Jen Sinkler.
Now that I’m free from “training,” I just get my daily workout in. This week I did the sprint intervals and a couple of quick 10-minute bodyweight workouts—one of them included pushups with a 15-pound puppy draping herself across my neck.
Oh yeah. We got a puppy. I’d put that down as number 4 on this list, but that’d be making excuses. EVERYONE has time for a workout. Even 10 minutes with a puppy biting your ear is better than nothing! And you won’t find that in a training plan.