Training and values

Hey Gang!


I think I’ve already said we were getting close to Spring, but guess what – now it’s officially Spring!!! There are already noticeably longer days. Running in the sun makes for much more enjoyable running. So enjoy!


A few weeks ago I wrote about racing according to our values. This week I’ve been thinking about training according to our values. This is a trickier one because there are so many more variables and decisions to make over the course of a training season. The reason I’m thinking about this is because I’ve been offered the chance to spend a couple of days and a night with some friends at a friend’s cottage. The date offered happens to be two days before the race I’ve been training for (Around The Bay). I mentioned this to my coach and it was met with silence, followed by the advice that he didn’t think it was a good idea to spend so much time in a car before a race, and possibly not be on an optimized eating and sleeping schedule. I took this into consideration, thanked him for his counsel, and said I would do it anyway. The reason is (for me) – I am almost always training for something and pretty much have been for the past 25+ years. Training and racing enhance the quality of my life. I also very much value friendships and relationships with people who fill me up, and I know the strength of these bonds requires investment and time spent together. If I were always optimizing for the perfect training and racing, I would be neglecting other areas of life which I value tremendously.


This is not to say I never prioritize. There are times when I know that I have to say no to certain things I want to do in order not to sabotage my other values. It’s a balancing act for sure. I value friends and relationships, I value my running and putting a true effort into training and racing, I value my family – spending time with them and doing all the things that need doing in the background to keep them propped up, and I value my work and commitment as a coach. I don’t have the perfect answer as to how to fit all of these things in seamlessly. Values and priorities will often bump into each other. For example, many people in this group just spent a week with their families for March Break. I think it’s pretty hard to be present and participatory in a family vacation while also focusing on hard training (which, although a valuable pursuit, it is inherently selfish). Many people also value being accountable to their teams at work and their high pressure jobs. What do you do when the people who are paying you and relying on you are asking for your time which conflicts with your training? These aren’t questions I can answer for you. Sometimes these values bumping into each other is what gives us the clearer perspective that we need. And sometimes we just have to pick one at the expense of the other, and then trade back the next time. Our guts will tell us which area is in debt and which can coast a bit. Personally, I have run enough races and foresee continuing to do so, that I am happy to “sacrifice” some potential performance for the investment in other areas of life. I wouldn’t make a terrible decision or completely self-sabotage a race, but when I weigh the pro’s and con’s of each scenario I currently have here, I am content that I am making the decision that fits with my values.


On to tomorrow’s workout: Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 Drills, 6:15 GO!


  1. Mile (1:30 rest), 800 (1:30 rest), 600 (1:15 rest), 400 (1:15 rest), 400 (1:15 rest), 600 (1:30 rest), 800 (1:30 rest), Mile
  2. Paces: Tempo, 10K, 5K, Faster … and up
  3. If running Around The Bay, just come down the ladder (mile, 800, 600, 400)
  4. If training for shorter distances this spring, Mile, 800, 600, 400, 600, 400 (fast finish)
  5. If going by time: 6-3-2-1-1-2-3-6 mins w 1:30-1:15 easy
  6. Important: If you are in the middle of a BIG WEEK (most Boston ppl), lean back on this one. Effort level: comfortably hard. The formula here for you is volume and consistency. Too big an effort on any one day can increase the need for recovery and decrease your ability to do the next thing. Look ahead and see what’s coming up and what you need to manage to be able to do that.


That is all – see you in the am!