Monday, December 23, 2013

A Man Without Goals Is No Kind of Man

The four (or so) of you who are regular readers may (or may not) have noticed that I went about a month between posts.

My bad.

Admittedly, I was busy, what with two weddings over Thanksgiving and a recent vacation to Disney World. But, hey, it’s 2013, so I very well could have set up a couple auto-publish posts, right?

Travel notwithstanding, I got hit with a nice case of writer’s block. I know why, too. I’m not training for anything. I have a spring marathon all but lined up, and I am probably going to do a 5K in the first week of 2014, but hasn’t been a race circled with a black marker on my calendar to keep me moving.

Part of this is by design, given, you know, the aforementioned travel. Working a second job in retail this time of year doesn’t help, either. Nor do repeat sets of shoveling the driveway. Still, I should be hittin’ the road at least three times a week. If nothing else, it keeps me sane.

I’ve written before about setting goals and using them as motivation in tough times (“tough” being a relative term here). I’ve been a bit of a hypocrite, though. At the moment, I am a man without goals.

The obvious question here: Why? Maybe running 13.1 miles three weeks after running 26.2 left me a bit burned out. Maybe my schedule sucks. Maybe the weather sucks. Maybe I just didn’t feel like it.

There are elements of truth in all four answers. The first three are pretty obvious. As for the fourth: I was ready, for the first time in months, after carefully recording each workout, to just run for the hell of it.

You know what? It didn’t work. I apparently need the level of accountability that comes with tracking each mile, each interval and each split. When I didn’t have access to a computer (read: Didn’t feel like booting it up), I scribbled my distance and time on a slip of paper. Without a goal, I have no real way of knowing if those distances and times are anywhere near the mark, either.

Could a coach help? Sure. What about joining a running club? That, too. Ultimately, though, the motivation’s gotta come from within -- and for me at least, that motivation won’t come without a goal.

So maybe I’ll finally sign up for that marathon, and maybe I’ll get my butt in gear to make sure I break 20 minutes in that 5K on Jan. 5. Either way, I will let the four (or so) of you know.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No Run Is Worth an Ambulance Ride, Winter Edition

A few months ago, in the midst of a heat wave, I said that no run is worth an ambulance ride. Dial it back when the mercury rises, I said, and don’t push yourself too hard. As I watch snow fall for the second time in four days, I’m reminded of this principle again.

I went to bed last night with every intention of running in the morning, only to wake up at 7 a.m. to a temperature of 0 degrees. “Not worth it,” I said, hitting snooze and rolling over. But, of course, I regretted my decision and contemplated an afternoon run in the falling snow. “It’ll make me feel like a kid again!” I told myself, daydreaming as I stared at my monitor.

Then I remembered my advice, which I also relayed to an acquaintance feeling similar frustration with winter weather. The cold’s actually the least of your problems -- the ice, the road conditions, the wetness and the lack of visibility are far bigger issues. Give the plows, the emergency personnel and the folks who absolutely need to be on the road their space. It’s not worth the risk. You can always run another day.

If you’re feeling stir crazy, as I was this afternoon, you can always do some squats, lunges and core work. Oh, and there’s shoveling. Always shoveling.