When a coach breaks his own rules….

If you watched my 12 Training Tips of Christmas, you might remember that number 1 was ‘Have a Purpose’ – in other words knowing what the aim of the run is and sticking to it.

Well, I went out on Sunday morning for what was planned as an easy aerobic 10 miles. I started off very steadily as I was not quite sure how I was going to be feeling; I’d had a tiring off road run the day before and also had a few too many beers watching the Rugby! My first three miles gently increased in pace and I started to feel OK, so I made the decision…I was going to make this a progressive run and try and get a ‘Royal Flush’ of each mile being quicker than the previous one. Suddenly the whole complexion of the run changed, I was aware of pace, managing my effort on undulations and when running into the wind, having to make sudden adjustments when I realised I taken it too easy on an uphill section and risked spoiling my ‘flush’…and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I successfully completed the run with the last couple of miles being hard work, but I felt great and was full of confidence at the end (a valuable commodity at the moment).

It made me think that if, like me, you have no particular race plans, it can be a really good thing to throw the rulebook out of the window and run on impulse (or, ‘Mix it Up’ as another of my tips suggested!!). It can give you a great boost and keep training fun, making you want to come back and work hard the next week. That said, it’s still worth being mindful of the rest of your training – I’d not done any hard sessions in the week so was relatively fresh (other than the slight hangover), and if you are following a plan for, say, a marathon, you should definitely keep your discipline.

So, plans and rules are important and should be made, but it’s OK to break them from time to time – even if, like me, you are meant to be setting a good example!