Let me start by making an apology. You see last week I made a mistake, I dropped a clanger, I have misled you all and for that I prostrate myself and beg forgiveness. I had thought that my summer of fun finished at the end of August, actually it finished at the start when my marathon training should have begun. Some time ago I had found a plan on line and worked backwards from the marathon date to the start of the training program, made a mental note and then gone out to have a good time. Not sure what that was, probably running a 10 mile tempo run, I have a peculiar notion as to what constitutes fun. By the time I thought of it again I had it firmly in my head that training started at the end of August so I stopped worrying. Last week as I put in the plan to Fetch I discovered something horrific. Marathon training should have started the first week in August, not the last. I was a week behind already.
This is obviously not the greatest disaster of all time. The first 2 weeks of my Manchester training plan had to be abandoned because of illness and that turned out all right (just) so I could pick up from week 2. What it did illustrate was something that up until now I had thought was just a bit of a joke. I love a plan, I love the structure, I love to know exactly what I am supposed to be doing, without it everything just kind of drifts. A plan gives me focus and allows me to feel like I am making progress toward a specific goal. Everything is laid out and ready to be followed and I don’t have to think. As long as I stick to the fucking plan everything will be OK. Other people around me also know I have a plan I am working to and that it will take a priority. With a plan I have the justification to be a complete arsehole. ‘It would be lovely to come round to dinner Aunty Neckbeard but unfortunately my training plan says I need to do 3 x 1.5 mile reps with a cool down and warm up so I won’t be able to make it.’ Sometimes it is lonely but as long as you have a plan who needs friends?
OK that may be taking things too far, there must be some flexibility, for a start I have already committed to pacing the 2 hour mark for a local half marathon. I couldn’t turn that down, I was flattered to have been asked so already there are compromises made. I also want to fit in an early 20 mile run at my hoped for Marathon pace, just to see where I am. Not sure if that will happen as I now have even less time to fit it in. I thought I would manage it before I even started this training cycle but my mistake has now made that impossible.
So what pithy little lesson can I draw from all this, what shiny dollop of wisdom can I lay at your ever eager feet? Well I think it goes something like this. Fun is great and we all need time off and periods with no pressure. They can in their own way be very productive, I am faster now than I have ever been before and that is partly in thanks to my summer of fun.
You should not let the casual and relaxed planless fun times take over though. As soon as I found my plan I should have put it up on my training scheduler, I should not have procrastinated. That way I would have known exactly where and when I was with my training, I could have scheduled in a 20 miler as a test and yes I could have still tweaked things to allow for the Half. In fact perhaps I need a bigger plan, a plan that encompasses all of my marathon training for a whole year, a plan which has a summer of fun as integral to it. In short next year I think I need to plan my unplanned summer off training.