Yesterday was my longest run to date, 20 miles. There are many reasons this is important but the biggest thing is I learned some lessons I can apply to life in general.
Plan your work and work your plan.
I have been following a plan for marathon training. There are a few “ifs” or “buts” in that statement. I started at week six as I didn’t decide I was going to run an October marathon until after I ran the Boilermaker in July. This was not a stretch as I was already running the miles necessary to step right in but it is not something everyone could do. As with life or with work, I had to evaluate if I was at the right point to jump in the plan at that moment. I needed to be realistic in my assessments of both my current fitness and running ability and the time I had in the future. Assessments of skills and time available occur regularly in my freelance life and are an ongoing thing in my personal life also.
With life and work, as with running, the plan needs to be slightly flexible. First, I didn’t start the running plan at the beginning. Second, each week I have played with it a bit. I haven’t made wholesale changes but I have rearranged runs and, in the case of one week where I wanted to run a 5K with friends, daily distances to fit into what I had the ability to do.
This week was no different. Tuesday, after a day of cross training on Monday, I saw the extended weather forecast for highs in the 90’s on Sunday. Even if I started early, I would be running in heat at least part of the time so I quickly rethought my week. I decided to take a rest day on Thursday and do the long run – all 20 miles – on Friday morning. Friday’s high was only predicted to be in the low 70’s. That 20 degree difference would be huge in my overall feeling after the run was finished.
Friday came and with it more flexibility. I was up by 6 am and getting breakfast and such ready. There was fog. Heavy fog. I wanted to be out the door by 6:30 at the latest. I never left for the run until 10. The fog was heavy. I got involved in work. I didn’t check and got behind.
In my personal life, I like to have things on the calendar. The reason for this is so I know I have the time and the energy to do the things I enjoy – hanging out with friends, parties, going out. On the other hand, I like the flexibility to just drop everything and go out with friends when they show up at my door.
Hydration is KING!
I know I need to drink water daily. I know that hydration is extraordinarily important to a runner. I need to plan those water/sports drink drops better for the next 20 miler. I was getting really thirsty when my friend Kristy saw me along the road. She stopped to see if I was okay. I fibbed a bit and said yeah but only because I knew that my sports drinks were just ahead. Unfortunately, I had been about two or three miles without any fluids and had been fairly low for two or three miles prior to that.
Life is similar to running. If you do not get the sleep you need, the mind stimulation you need, the hydration you need, you cannot function the way you would like.
Are you a runner? If so, what life lessons have you learned from running? If not, what do you do in your “spare” time? What life lessons have learned from hobbies or vocations?