December 09, 2011

The joy of schedules

After happily enjoying my day without running yesterday after all, I headed out for an easy 10km this morning just before 9:30am. It was a relaxing run, during which the only effort I had to make was to slow myself down now and then, as it was meant to be an easy session.

I took a route that followed both concrete and soft paths, divided about 50-50. My parents and I had a quiet breakfast, after I had gotten up a little earlier to make progress in the novel I am reading by Dutch author Abdelkader Benali, Zandloper (Sandrunner). As I am already leaving in four days, and still have another Dutch book I'd like to read before then, De Mens als Duurloper (Man as Distance Runner) by Jan Knippenburg, I wanted some quiet time to read before the rest woke.

The day ahead was already planned, from start to finish; I didn't need to think about it. After reading, we'd have breakfast, then I'd run. My run was scheduled, simple. Then we'd leave to visit my grandmother, an hour's drive one way, followed by a visit to an aunt I hadn't seen for several years in a village nearby.

There's an easy simplicity to a day that is already taken care of in terms of activities, especially if they are familiar, yet very different from the usual routine and leave room for flexibility. I didn't need to wonder how to make the most of the day; I only needed to do it.

I don't recall what was on my mind during my run this morning, probably because my mind was at ease. I briefly considered the cold I heard my aunt had when my mom called her this morning; I didn't want to catch it just as I was ramping up my training. Not that one ever wants a cold but I especially do not want on now. Training has begun, the training to be ready to start the real training for the Vancouver Marathon.

The real training as in the new program that I will follow. The program with record volume (for me). The program that is new, and still familiar, and leaves flexibility. From today, until the day of the Vancouver Marathon on that first Sunday in May I know exactly, to the day, each session that I will do. That is a thought I like. It brings hope, possibility and peace of mind.

In Zandloper, the main character has already arrived in Marocco for a training camp. He asks the manager about the training program, the schedule, for the camp when he is told (English translation is mine):

"There are no training schedules," he said.
My heart sank. Runners know what I mean when I stress the importance of a training schedule. We long for training schedules, always better training schedules that are tailored to us, suit us better than our life partner. Without a schedule you don't head out the door, so only a runner understands how disappointed I was, somewhat numbed too, when he told me that there was no such thing as a training schedule.

I am not sure that my new training schedule fits me better than my life partner, but I believe it is a better program, but only because I am a better runner now than when I began the previous schedule. In any case, I am starting to get very excited about following it as of January 1.

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