The freedom of being off work and not having to engage in the generally hectic daily grind of the world of education and family life should be a time for fantastic running opportunities and mile after mile of pleasurable training. Unfortunately, the necessary motivation and commitment is sometimes hard to find. I’ve just had six weeks off work but the running has not been what it should be. Illness played its part in this but even over the last three weeks it’s not always been easy to commit to a run. 

You see, there’s always later (or even tomorrow). There’s always something else to do, some other distraction.  Futhermore, although I’m not a completely bone-idle couch potato, I am good at finding excuses: broken sleep – too tired, not had enough water – too dehydrated, cough or a sneeze – surely a rare strain of tropical flu is about to strike me down. In some respects I’ve had too much time on my hands. What I need is regimentation. 

As a teacher I live my life in terms – Autumn Term, Spring Term, Summer Term – with good breaks between each. During term time most of my life is pretty much full of work and family commitments. Most days provide only a small slot of time in which to go for a run. Miss the slot and it’s gone. It somehow makes me more disciplined – I know I have to do it then or it won’t get done. Conversely, when I have more time I think I can put it off for a while but too often, ‘later’ or ‘tomorrow’ means I don’t do the training.  

I’ve not followed a training plan for several weeks now, deciding that I’d just enjoy running without one for a while. Of course, I have enjoyed the running but my casual approach to it has meant I’ve not done as much as I’d have liked.

So a new plan has been put into place. The ‘Autumn Term’ will see the nights start drawing-in and I’ll be squeezing in runs in my pre-determined slots. A regimented approach will no doubt help me to move my running to the next level. I will just have to make sure that I stick to the plan and not change it on a daily basis! And even I’ll have to admit that the chances of catching rare strains of tropical flu are very small in the north west of England!


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