In search of thread-in-the-tapestry runs

Friday’s run was both frustrating and exhilarating.

The weather was gorgeous – sunny and upper 70s – but I wasn’t used to this kind of summer heat and I wound up wilting under the sun. It was weirdly disorienting to struggle toward the end of a mere 4-miler.

On the other hand, the fact this run solved a scheduling problem instead of creating one was highly satisfying.

I wrapped up a substitute teaching job midday and was eager to lace up my running shoes, but we’d had some vehicle trouble that morning which meant I’d need to swing by the high school by 2:30. I’d already abandoned plans for a longer run and was trying to figure out what I could cram in instead when I realized that everything would be much simpler if I just left my car at the school for Ben and then ran home. (Taking the long way, of course.)

So even though the run itself wasn’t one of my better efforts, it was still highly satisfying because it helped us out of a jam.

There’s drama in every run, a storyline in there somewhere. But lately I’ve been craving that satisfaction that comes with a run that serves a larger purpose than just “me” time or calorie burning.

Which is an overly dramatic way of saying that with 10 weeks to go until my first goal race of the year, I’m looking forward to shifting into training-plan mode – so that instead of constantly wondering if  I’m doing enough to get ready, I know that any given run is designed to serve a specific purpose — in conjunction with other runs during the week – to help me get better.

It was a real eye opener to look at Hal Higdon’s advanced 5K training plan, which I’m going to tweak a bit over the next couple of weeks before putting it into action at the 8-week mark. I’ve only used a training plan on longer distances, so the mileage on this plan looks ridiculously simple. It’s the speed work that will be tough, but I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to see how much time I can peel off a 5K that I actually train for instead of just trying to run as hard as I can, knowing it’s a shorter distance.

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