Focus

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.

Briones Reservoir
photo 1

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. 

Briones Reservoir
photo 2

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.

Redwood
Jan 170

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.

Anthony Chabot
Jan 178

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. 

Redwood
photo 3

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. 

Briones Reservoir
Jan 195  

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. 

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14 Responses to Focus

  1. Beth @ Running with the Sunrise January 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Gorgeous photos! It looks like you’ve been running in some awesome places on your goal-less runs. I think going on runs that aren’t a training plan are so freeing–you can really take the time to enjoy the run instead of worrying about whether you’re hitting the right splits or making the correct mileage…it’s so refreshing to just concentrate on how you feel while you’re running and on how lovely the scenery is.

  2. Audrey January 31, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    These photos are beautiful! Are they all taken with your phone??

    • Aron February 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      Some are with my phone, some are with a camera I carry on occasion :)

  3. Jen January 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    I’ve been wanting to go to Briones for a while now, and your photos have sealed the deal. Great photos and awesome mileage!

    • Aron February 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Check out the Briones Reservoir! These pics are from there. There is a great 13 mile loop around it on EBMUD trails (you need a permit, which is super easy). Info here: http://www.ebmud.com/recreation/trail-use-permit/east-bay-trails

      Briones Regional Park is also very pretty!

      • Jen February 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

        Thanks for the info! Will definitely have to check that out soon. :)

  4. heather February 1, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    Aron, just wanted to comment to say how much I enjoy your blog, especially the photos!! You are so lucky to be able to run on trails like that, and I love that you make the most of it.

    Sometimes you just have to sit back and let the next goal come to you, I think…

  5. Kristen February 1, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    That lack of focus while enjoying the people and places sounds like perfection to me…

  6. Joanne February 1, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    Beautiful photos.
    Do you down play running a marathon now that you have been training for ultras? It seems that I don’t take them as seriously as maybe I should since I’ve run six of them. You’ve run at least 10 plus those longer distances. Just wondering?

    • Aron February 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      I wouldn’t say “down play” because a marathon is still really far AND running a marathon fast sounds very scary :) I think it’s just different. A 26 mile trail run doesn’t sound as scary/hard to me as running a hard marathon. One of these days I will get the gust to test out all these miles on a hard marathon again :)

  7. Susan - Nurse on the Run February 1, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    When I was coming back from injury, I was just RUNNING. I guess my “focus” was getting some miles under me and getting back into running. But overall…….there was a lack of a focus. It was actually really fun. I could run what I wanted without the pressure of “needing” to get in a long run or a workout. And you have so many places to explore!

  8. XLMIC February 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Beautiful!

  9. runner26 February 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    just gorgeous! i’d love to run somewhere like this! right now we are buried in winter – cold, single digits, snow, gray skies, not a leaf on a tree.

    so nice to run without a goal though- enjoy that beauty!

  10. Christine February 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Soo beautiful!! You are in runner’s heaven!!

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