No, I haven't been doing my "Yoga for Runners" like I should be, so I'm not talking about physical flexibility (although that is an important aspect of running). What's just as important is mental flexibility and the ability to adapt and modify your plan based on changing circumstances. I'm not exactly known for going with the flow, though I have been trying to get better about that - and let me tell you, last weekend pushed me a bit further out of my comfort zone. Saturday's long run proved to be the perfect storm of circumstances that required some serious flexibility on my part.
The Dallas area has had an outbreak of West Nile Virus this summer that led county leaders to implement aerial pesticide spraying over the weekend. This spraying was due to take place near my group's normal running routes, so our group leaders moved our run to a local multi-purpose trail close to my house (yay for me!). Twenty miles on the schedule meant some serious mental and physical preparation throughout the week (fueling and hydrating properly, etc.) It also means meeting at 4am to get ahead of the heat, but overnight Friday, storms rolled in and it thundered and lightninged through the early morning. As 4am rolled around, many of us were sitting in our cars in the parking lot, all prepped for a long run, and watching the bright flashes above us, knowing what was coming. Finally, the call was made - prolonged lightning meant no group run. My pace group talked it over and decided to get at least 10 miles in on our own this weekend, and we'd re-schedule the 20 miler for next weekend.
So I headed home, and checked out the weather radar - they were still forecasting strong storms into the late morning and possibly even afternoon. With my weekend plans, I still needed to get my miles done that morning...which meant...turning to the treadmill - blech. I decided to break the 10 into two 5-mile segments, with a bathroom/fuel/water break inbetween. So, armed with a new plan and my Gymboss Interval Timer instead of my Garmin, I popped The Sound of Music into the DVD player, and "took off" on the belt. It wasn't fun, but I got it done, and with the reprise of "Climb Every Mountain" resounding in my ears, I pushed in the last couple miles and ended up with a negative split for the second half of the run!
So the key to last weekend, for me, was flexibility. So many things were different that if I hadn't been able to make adjustments on the fly that it all could have fallen apart. Change of location (trail instead of neighborhoods and the lake), change of distance (10 instead of 20), change of running mode (treadmill instead of road), and change of company (DVD instead of my running group). That's ALOT of changes!
I'd say I rolled with the punches pretty well, though, and am proud of myself for making the best of it! Plus, I have to admit to a little extra pride that I got in some decent mileage, even though it was tough to do it on the treadmill, when the rainy weather was just beckoning me to come back to bed at 5am on a Saturday morning... And I'm fortunate that our group schedule has a little wiggle room, so switching the 20 miler weekends should work out okay.
How flexible are you in your running? What happens when your plan hits a snag? Do you have a backup plan in place or do you make changes on the fly? How do you adjust? Is there flexibility in your training?
Last Week in Review:
- Monday - strength - 30 min bootcamp;
- Tuesday - short run - 2.2 mi @ 60:30 intervals;
- Wednesday - strength - 30 min bootcamp;
- Thursday - short run cancelled (not feeling well);
- Friday - rest day;
- Saturday - long run - 10 mi @ 1:1 intervals; 2:28:28; 14:51min/mi avg;
- Sunday - rest day.