In my perfect running world my weekly calendar would look something like this:
Monday – rest day (cross training, may be bike ride to or after work)
Tuesday – short run (intervals, fartlek, speed work) or evening run
Wednesday – rest day (lunch time swim?)
Thursday – mid run 45 mins to one hour
Friday – rest (may be a bike ride)
Saturday – cross train (swim/gym), or may be park run when tapering/cutting back the miles
Sunday – early morning long run
I would feast on porridge, steamed fish and greens, freshly squeezed juice, and superfoods such as blueberries, and of course Greek Yoghurt and honey.
That is what I routinely find myself thinking about, as well as having the physique of an Olympic triathlete, and a proper racing bike; and a few years ago when I took up running, my routine was looking something like that – I even joined Tri-Anglia for a bit, but I couldn’t hack the midweek swimming sessions.
But then something changed.
These days I have this inner voice, let’s call it a wife and two kids for the sake of argument, who apparently like to have a say in these things.
Gone are the days of simply running off whenever I like. Life now is a series of compromises, which basically means getting up early to go for a run, which for a night owl like me means I don’t always make it.
Strap a pair on, you might think.
But I have pooled my sovereignty on the altar of wedded bliss – all of which means it’s tricky to get the runs in.
And I like to think that I’m a better man for it, albeit not quite as fit or slim as I’d like to be.
The reality these days is that a morning run’s ok if I go before the kids get up, but get home from work and have the temerity to casually remark that I quite fancy an evening run, having only just this minute got through the door, and it is swiftly pointed out that there’s tea and bath time to sort, and you haven’t even asked how my day’s been..etc.
So I do my bit and spend a bit of time with the family rather than say – read the paper, read a book, look at the ipad, write this blog, practice the guitar, write a novel, watch Star Wars, listen to CDs etc – combinations of which would happily keep me entertained, and are now mostly concertinered into the hours after everyone else has gone to bed – such as now.
On Sunday I saw a man running along Marriotts Way pushing a three wheel buggy with a small child in it and walking the dog, while heroically steering said buggy through the mud. That’s impressive, I thought, though I was dubious about how much he was benefiting physically from the run.
But he struck me as a guy who was juggling three different jobs all at once.
Was there someone back home saying ‘yes you can run, but only if you take the baby, and the dog’s not done its you-know-whats either, so you might as well take it rather than letting it go in the garden ‘?
Did he have childcare issues? Is it just the way he rolls?
Rightly or wrongly, it made me think just how hard it is sometimes to get a run in, when other responsibilities have to be juggled too.
But we owe it to ourselves to try – and the truth is, thanks to a bit of give and take, my wife actually let’s me get on with it most of the time – unless I oversleep.
Of course, I love them all really and am lucky to have what I’ve got, and wouldn’t have it any other way, despite the odd rant.
And the truth is, and don’t mention it too loudly, I’m slowly working back to something like the sort of running routine I dream about, which means if I play my cards right you might see me out and about one evening soon..