By: Nolan Tudor
“Ok, you’re going to feel a tiny pinch….there it is, just relax.” Why is it that whenever you’re about to get stabbed with a needle the doc always says it’s only going to be a tiny pinch?! That’s like saying all you need to do to run a 100 miler is focus. Actually, I guess that is all you have to do.
When I found out that I needed to get my wisdom teeth out at 32 I was upset. What was that going to do to my training? Didn’t my dentist know that they weren’t hurting anyone? Least of all me. I have plans for this year and she was messing them up. Back in my early 20’s when most people get their wisdom teeth removed I wouldn’t have worried about it at all.
I started running shortly after university with the realization that I wasn’t going to be a professional beer pong player. Even though that seemed like a perfectly legitimate occupation. I needed a competitive outlet and running seemed like an easy choice.
I grew up playing basketball and even though running is a part of the sport, it always felt like it was attached to some sort of punishment. When I started running I hated it. It was tougher than I thought it would be. I couldn’t go as far or as fast as I wanted, and it got boring, quick! Now, having coached numerous newbie runners in couch to 5km programs these are sentiments I have heard all too often. For me it was all about getting over the hump and staying focused. Once you are over the hump, it’s glorious. Runners high anyone?!
Maybe it’s just me but a lot of runners I know could be described as type A personalities. Or even AAA type personalities. I am surrounded by them. These runners plan their training down to the minute. Workouts are usually not flexible, and they have their entire training plan sorted out months in advance of a race. As I am sure you have guessed by now, that’s not me. I am a type Z personality. If I can get away with planning as little as possible, for anything in my life, I will do it. Much to the chagrin of my wife. I get more joy by being in the moment and on occasion completely winging it than I do by having everything sorted out in advance.
For me, this applies in a big way to running. I tend to have the broad strokes of a training plan sorted out without relying too heavily on specifics. Sure, I have a few key training sessions planned in advance but those are the rarity. The biggest advantage of this approach is its flexibility. If I am having an off day I can dial my training back. It also allows me to push it on days that I am feeling really good. Type A runners aren’t always super good at listening to their bodies, type Z runners are masters.
Instead of freaking out about missing some time on the trails after my dental surgery I bulked up my running earlier in the week with the anticipation of couple days of rest. If it was going to be 3 days, 5 days, 2 days, it didn’t matter. My training plan could adapt to that. Because I am flexible like a ninja. Or maybe a type Z runner.