I think I fall in the category of the majority over the holidays in that I’ve strayed quite far from my usual routine. More social get-togethers have meant more late nights. Kids are out of school so my days have few kid-free windows. Work continues; all the time for my husband, and for me where I can fit it in. I do love the holidays for the extra time I get to spend with people I want to see (yes – including my monsters!) but being outside of a dependable routine has definitely made running and working out more of a challenge.
This shakeup has gotten me thinking about the role that routine plays in running – and in life. The word ‘routine’ can easily conjure up the associations of ‘boring’, ‘rut’, ‘stagnation’. But I am a lover of routine. I can rely on my routine to move me forward and do difficult things without too much thought or effort. It takes some tinkering to find a routine which fits my life and workout needs, and every now and then something changes and I add or delete elements, but I find the consistency of a good routine can move me along nicely and get me where I want to go.
I can’t stay in the same routine for too long though. If I want to grow, change and adapt I have to shake things up a bit. One thing I’ve learned about routines is that when I do start a new one, it’s always tough. But at least I know I’ll adapt. I just have to force it at first and have faith that it will get easier. I recently added a weekly tempo run to my workout routine. I find tempos one of the most challenging workouts, so I normally avoid them. The first few were very hard. but 5 weeks in I can now get them done without too much mental effort. I’ve adapted as they’ve become a known quantity. The same thing happened when I started running at 5 a.m. I’ve learned that’s something I can’t do every day, but I’ve found a comfortable number of days that work well in my routine.
That’s how I think of my ‘routine’ in other areas of life as well. My family and I are facing some changes to our routines in the new year. Nothing ground shaking, but enough to slightly push us out of our usual comfortable schedules. It won’t be easy at first, I know. But, like the added tempos and 5 a.m. runs, we will adapt. What at first seems too difficult will become natural as we make changes and push ourselves in different directions. Our newly created routines will take us there, one foot in front of the other.