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Changing My Routine With Snack-Sized Runs

Posted by: on October, 14 2015

Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Ted Spiker

Sometimes, squeezing in your runs in the only answer.

Of my 372 running-related hang-ups, this may be the biggest: I need routine and rhythm. When that pattern gets disrupted by injury or packed schedules or come-hithers whispered by couches and toasted coconut, I sputter.

It’s not necessarily because I need to have a goal or a race or a destination in order to log miles. I just do better when I know the days of the week and the times of the day that I’ve slotted to run. And when that weekly cycle hiccups, I’m not good at improvisation. I’m not good at the squeeze-something-in-as-you-can run. I’m not good at hanging on when sometimes that’s all you can do.run city
Now, I know I should work on being more flexible mentally (and hip-flexorly). My buddy, Tom, who’s training for a December marathon, is the best I’ve ever seen. He’ll find a way to get in his four or eight or 15 miles, no matter what’s happening at work or home or with his body. He figures it out.

But I also know that I need to find a routine, even if it’s not the perfect one.

Right now, I have a time every day when I’m waiting for my kids to get ready before we leave for school. I usually leave these 25 or so minutes for knocking out some work before work. But this week, I decided that I needed a new rhythm and routine. I needed snack-sized runs.

No stranger to snacks, I used to feel that every run had to have some heft to it, either in distance or intensity. But when things don’t go right, I need to accept that some snack-sized runs can hold me over until I can get to the bigger ones.

Several days this week, I did that. I trotted out for 20 pre-dawn minutes. Short, slow, and sluggish at the beginning, invigorating by the end.

So what if it took half the run to get the engine going. So what if they weren’t perfect conditions. So what if I didn’t exactly do much to further my goals.

Over the last few weeks, my running feed has been filled with people logging their 20-milers. (Sending special mojo to my friend, Bill, who is running Chicago this weekend, his first marathon. He’s always been supportive and been with me through all of my goals. He’s battled some injuries of his own to get to the start line. You’re going to crush it, my man.)

And here I am, during the heart of fall racing season, temporarily fighting to log 20 minutes.

And that’s okay for now. Because you know what they say about snacks? Just makes you hungrier.