I have to admit, Iím a creature of habit, particularly when it comes to running. When at home, I tend to stick to specific routes where I know the terrain and the distance. Therefore, I donít have to worry about how far or where Iím going, so when Iím out there and I can just let my mind wander.
However, along with this approach, I often feel that in order to get a decent training run in, I must log a certain minimum amount of mileage, which in my case is around 6-7 miles. In my opinion, this is both a positive and negative trait. On the positive side, it ensures that when I train I approach it with a certain sense of vigor and commitment, but on the negative side there have been those times where Iíve been in a time crunch and have opted to forgo a run, simply because I felt that I didnít have enough time to meet my minimum threshold for mileage.
As anyone knows, a big part of marathon training comes down to two simple aspects-- time and commitment. As we all know time is precious, and all too often find ourselves feeling that we just donít have enough of it, which can impact our ability to train in the manner that we would like to. Therefore, instead on training 5-6 days a week, we end up training 3-4, simply because we could not make the necessary time to run a scheduled distance.
So, when pressed for time and not able to do what you planned, is the answer to just put it off until the next day? In my opinion the answer is no. Even if it means just getting out for short 2-3 mile run, when you have planned to do 6 or 7 or 10, is better than doing nothing at all. While you may feel that you are not sticking to your training regiment, at least you are sticking to ďtrainingĒ. Therefore, while you might not find yourself having the time to do what you had intended to do, at least you are committing yourself to doing some sort of training. Then when it comes to doing your intended run of certain distance, my guess is that you will feel better both physically and mentally, knowing that instead of doing nothing at all, you still did something.
Now, for someone like me the challenge in taking this approach can come down to the route you choose, as I measure mileage by the route, not the odometer. Therefore, what I have done is found ways to parse my standard training route into shorter distances, so if I do need to tailor my efforts, I know how far and where Iím going. Personally, I feel that this is one of the great benefits of training along the Charles. Marathon Sports, has a great free running map that provides all sorts of select distances between various points on the Charles, so if I need to curtail things, I can just look at this map and plan a shorter route.
So, if youíre like me, a key thing to do in this situation is to know not only your standard route, but variations of it as well. Therefore, if you find yourself pressed for time and know you wonít be able to run your typical distance, youíll have a shorter alternative ready to go, right there and then.
In the end, while you still need to log your mileage. Training consistency is a key element as well. So, if you find yourself some days not having enough time to log your desired mileage, still try to get out there for a least a little while, because in the end, a run is better than no run, and youíll be the better for it when it comes to race day.
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes