Enough of this aimless running. I need a change, for a change.
Ennui: A feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom. Synonyms: listlessness, tedium, lassitude, languor.
My workouts this past week (couple of weeks? months?) have been generally blah-riffic.
I think part of the problem is that I’ve been going long for… too… long. I don’t need to be running or erging for 90+ minutes a day at a minimum, all in one shot. I’m not training for anything specific. I don’t have some grand plan. I’m not doing cut-back weeks. There’s nothing cyclical or variable in my training anymore. It’s just. Zzzzzz.
Bottom line is, I need to shake up this neurotic affinity for 90+ minutes at medium pace. It’s just. Getting. Boring.
The rowing machine? Ugh. Earlier in the summer, I was an erging superstar. Then I had the opportunity to row on the water for two weeks, and when I got back home to the erg, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I can’t look at the meters counting down on the screen, I can’t watch the minutes crawl by, I can’t be fiddling with my stupid ipod playing the same stupid music over and over again. Goodness. Mentally, running is so much easier. And so I assure myself emphatically, I’ll never erg again! Never!
And yet, I’m afraid to let myself get lazy with it. Why? It’s not like I’m rowing competitively anymore. How many years in college did I yearn for the days when I would never have to look at an erg again? I used to pray that I’d show up to practice and all of the ergs would mysteriously be missing. Oh no, too bad, we have to run instead! And yet, here I am a year out from the halcyon days of varsity letters, erging 20 KM at a stretch on a regular basis. What. The. Heck?
It’s the equivalent with my running. Why am I running for two hours at a time in the middle of the week? I’m not training for a marathon right now. What. The. Heck?
Rut. Slump. Exercise addiction. Call it what you want, it’s getting yawntastic.
In the interest of shaking things up, I’ve made a few teensy steps in the right direction by either doing (or attempting) the following basic and obvious changes:
Going short, speeding up, adding music: After my “real” workout in the morning, I’ve been treating myself to short, lovely 3 milers at the end of the day. Not those runs where you say, “oh, I’ll just run 3 miles and then accidentally end up running 7.” No. Absolutely not. Only 3 miles. On the last 1.5 miles, I do strides, pickups, some speed. I take my ipod on these runs. Barring treadmill runs, I don’t ever run with music, but on these nice 3 mile treats, I’ve been taking it along. I’ve been listening to movie soundtracks. Dire Straits. Bluegrass. Van Morrison. Disney. Non-circuit, non-erging music: in other words, stuff I’m not positively sick of listening to. Let’s face it, “Remember the Name” and “Numb / Encore” lost their luster after 20 plays. Four years ago. And they’re still on my workout playlist… why? Well, no more.
Ditching the morning sweat gluttony: Speaking of those “real workouts” in the morning and 3 mile treats in the afternoon: Wait a minute, self, since you’ve barely been sleeping lately (which causes you to wake up feeling like garbage) here’s a brilliant idea. Let’s cut the compulsion to go long in the morning. Why not switch things up to emphasize the afternoon instead? Wow, NOVEL idea. Am I that concerned something will “come up” to prevent me from running later on? And if something does come up, will the world go into spontaneous nuclear meltdown? No, you uptight moron. You’re not an Olympian. You’re not even training for anything. Loosen up.
Trying things I don’t usually do: This morning, for example, after a short(!) 30’ rowing machine session (success!), I did a Pilates video. I swore at the sanctimonious hag on the screen the whole time. I was about as relaxed as a Doberman Pinscher in a roomful of cats. I did not exhale and inhale when I was supposed to. I did not look remotely like a ballerina. Yet, to the great benefit of my fried neurological networks, I was doing something I don’t usually do. This needs to happen more often. Probably not in the form of Pilates… but even so. On the same note, I’ve been shamefully neglectful of strength training in the past month, so this week I tried to emphasize my circuits, which has been refreshing in that it is keeping me from going brain-dead.
Coming up with a long-term goal or training plan:
Now this, here, is the root of my problem.
We all know that it can be relaxing to be without a goal or a training plan for a little while. And then, it just gets insufferably unfulfilling.
Trouble is, I don’t have any goals that I can start working toward in the next few weeks. The next marathon I could conceivably participate in won’t be until April, or even more realistically, July 2011. That’s… a year from now. Lots of things happen in a year.
I need to find something worthwhile to do in the meantime that doesn’t involve stagnating and growing to resent my sweat sessions.
What have you done when you’ve encountered too much tedium in your training? Any suggestions for better ways to change up a dull routine?