Thursday, August 22, 2019

#runninglifelessons: Complicating The Simple

I do it all the time. Oh man, do I do this all the time. Take something simple and make it really complicated. This is something so easy to do when running, when racing, when training. It's also an easy trap to fall into all over life.

This connected again recently when I began to think about my training plan for the Jacksonville Marathon early next year. First, I wrote out a general plan by hand on a single sheet of paper. It was simple. The date of the race. The date I wanted to start a training plan. Some goals. A basic weekly training pattern. A few shoes I wanted to consider for race day. And a couple shorter training races. That's it. Nice and simple.

And then came step two, the beginning of complicating. I had laid out that I wanted to run two weekly workouts, or runs with a specific purpose at race pace or faster. But which coaching philosophy should I use for those workouts? Daniels, Tinman, Lydiard, and on and on and on...

And how would I determine my target paces for those workouts and for the Sunday long run? Use my last race finish? Or use a VDOT table? Or an online calculator? And on and on and on...

And then came the Google Sheets training spreadsheet. Every run or two for every day for every week for the next 18 weeks. Each run with a target pace, with the exact number of intervals, with the feel for the workout, with the rest between each interval. Every tempo run with an exact distance, a target pace. 126 days, about 160 runs, laid out as if to program a machine. And on and on and on...

And I was just getting ready to start thinking about race nutrition options to consider (Gatorade, Maurten, Sword, nutella bacon sandwiches?), when...BOOM, it hit me that I was falling deeply into the complexity trap when all I really needed was that darn first sheet I had written down at the very beginning! That first sheet had everything I needed 20 weeks away. And it had just about everything I needed to develop my daily running plan on that day in the moment.

I'm really prone to this complicating trap in running, but also in other life matters. Thinking about buying something kind of expensive? I know what I want, but I better list out options and prices and potential discounts in a spreadsheet.  I need to nail down every detail even though I know only a few items will really matter in a purchasing decision. Unnecessary complexity.

Preparing for a trip? Oh lordy...things are really going to go overboard. Checklists, overpacking, double and triple checking the overpacking. Realizing I'm mispacked, unpacking and doing the entire thing again. Unnecessary complexity.

Heck, even writing in this here blog. I want to storyboard longer pieces and mix and scramble things. I want to edit once and twice and three times. (Actually, I hate editing, but feel like I should do that.) I want to scour Unsplash and add dozens of perfect photos to even a 100 word entry. And I've done these things in the past. Unnecessary complexity. Really, I just need to sit down, bang out a few words, maybe read it over once (I mean, who's really reading anyway), and push the "Publish" button. Simple.

Complicating the simple seems to be a hobby of mine. In running, it seems to be a hobby of a whole lot of people. Running, like so many things, is actually really simple. One foot in front of the other over and over and over again.

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