As a person who has always had a big next goal, I am constantly asked the question “what’s next?” or “what are you training for?” While I do have races on the calendar, the spot on my fridge that typically holds a training plan has been happily empty since December.
Running without a training plan has been treating me very well. I don’t start out each week with a set number of total miles or a goal for a long run. Instead, I chat with my friends and see what running plans we have (or need to make) and go from there. We pick a place off our ever-growing bucket list, plan a general route of trails we want to run and things we want to see, and the miles follow along.
Not having a training plan does not mean I haven’t been doing a lot of running though. I have just been lucky enough that pretty much all 287 of my miles in January have been with my friends, and a big majority of them have been exploring beautiful places around the Bay Area.
This past Saturday I met up with Jojo for a long run. We started in Joaquin Miller Park, made our way up to Redwood Park and over into Anthony Chabot Regional Park and back. Some of the trails I had been on a number of times, but not in recent months. Some of the trails were new, connecting us to other trails I had been on at one time or another.
We talked a lot about focus, or maybe more importantly the lack of focus we have both had lately. It’s a new feeling to both of us. Usually I don’t go longer than a month or so without picking something big to focus on. More often than not, it’s a big race with a big goal (new distance, new time, etc) to work towards during training.
I like goals, I like schedules, I like having a plan and I love to be focused. I am a Capricorn accountant after all.
The last two months have been pretty much the opposite of that. Coming off of months of training and long runs and training plans, I cannot express how much I am enjoying this lack of focus. Sure I have races on the calendar, quite a few of them actually (the first being this weekend!), but they are races I plan on training through and keeping a general level of fitness for. They are races I am running because of where they are or who they are with, not because of a certain distance or a time on the clock. None of these races are the end date on a training plan.
I am sure there will come a day someday soon when this lack of focus will change and I will start to crave the training plan with a big goal at the end of it. But for now, I am soaking up every ounce of non-focused running time I can get.
With so many places left to explore around the Bay Area and Northern California, my focus is on adventure, exploring and discovery, and I think it’s pretty obvious why. The training plans and goals will come sometime… someday… maybe.
I am in absolutely no rush.