In which I deviate

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, you nasty little people. Just because I use the word “deviate” in a post, your minds immediately sink to the lowest common denominator.

Sure, I’ve written about “naked” running and all of you piled in looking for…well, I’m not sure what you were looking for, really.

Ashamed! All of you should be ashamed!

It’s not what you think.

I’m talking about my training plan.

Okay, now that I just lost three-quarters of my reading audience, I’ll continue to write for the rest of you nice, decent-thinking folk.

Yes, it’s true. I did deviate…from my training plan. And in fact this story comes with a moral.

Alright, so only one of you is left reading now. That’s fine. Really.

As many of you know, I set out several weeks ago to follow a – ahem – rigorous training plan that Greg Wieczorek over at Project PB ( set up for me.

It didn’t work out the way I hoped – not through any fault of Coach Wieczorek’s. The biggest problem was trying to balance the schedule with teaching spin classes and, ultimately, I wasn’t able to do that.

Instead, I ended up with ridiculous work loads where I’d run 24 km in the morning and then teach two hours of spin in the evening for a total of three hours and 45 minutes of workout time.

Great stuff – except I wasn’t ready for it yet. And, more to the point, the key quality workouts suffered. I was so tired by the time my important workouts rolled around that I either bailed on them or didn’t hit the mark.

Oh, you weak little man. I know that’s what you’re thinking.

It’s okay. Heap abuse on me. I’m used to it. It makes me run harder. If it makes you feel better, go ahead. But I’ll shred you at the next race…if I can get my darn training plan under control.

After missing enough important workouts, I went back to Wieczorek and told him I needed to revise my goal race target. To my surprise, he not only agreed, but told me how he’d done the same.

Look out! Here comes that moral.

Don’t be afraid to revise your plan. All too often, if we take on a training plan, I think we believe we have to follow it to the letter.

Guess what? You are master and commander of your own destiny – to quote from Clint Eastwood’s film, Invictus (the actual lines come from a William Ernest Henley poem and are slightly different).

I have returned to an earlier point in the plan with a later goal race in mind. But even as I start down this path again, I feel as if improvisation may be more my style.

This may be a classic example of working within rigid parameters or training by feel and that’s something you can only learn through experience – and that can take a long time. I’m still picking my way through.

Ultimately, you need to find the method of training that will best suit you.


About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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