Back to a schedule

I’m writing this on the last official day of summer vacation. Tomorrow my two kids are back to school and with that comes predictable schedules and routines. Although I’ve enjoyed and made the most of our unstructured time together this summer, my running is definitely ready for some re-commitment and a healthy dose of planning and structure.

Throughout the long days of summer we were relaxed about bed times and I often let my kids play outside until their usual school bedtime. The result was that everyone would sleep in (including me). If I got myself into a sleep deprived hole, there was no recovery and little enjoyment for anyone. During the day, my kids and I would decide on a whim whether to hop on our bikes to go to the pool, meet up with friends at a park, hit an amusement park, or just run some un-rushed errands together. We reconnected with old friends and family, and prioritized activities which everyone could do together, like hiking, windsurfing, cycling, swimming or just hanging out together. Running seemed to become a little less of a priority to me and it was a little harder to make sure all of my workouts and long runs stayed on schedule.

Here are some things I prioritized over running:

Bumper cars
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Catching butterflies
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Late night circus show
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I was aware this was happening, but instead of fighting it I decided to go with the flow. Yes, running routines thrive under structure, and I’m sure the elites don’t let loose-ended days and spontaneity get in the way of their training. But I’m old enough to appreciate the fleeting nature of summer, and my kids are young enough that I know this phase together will not last much longer. So I ran as much and as hard as I could without imposing my schedule on others and without losing the free-flowing nature of summer.

Now we’re back to reality with schedules, bed-times, wake-up times, planned activities, and responsibilities. For this to work with my running I must cling to a tightly imposed schedule – and I do. I actually don’t mind it at all – it’s the only way to make it all work. So I welcome fall and the return to structured activities, but I do not regret for a second the training I missed throughout the summer.