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After ending up over-trained and burnt out, I let my son dictate my workouts. Here’s what happened:

After burning out in spring, one runner let her son become her new workout buddy. Here's what workouts look like on a ten-year-old's schedule.

I got myself into a little bit of an over-training situation not too long ago. That’s not a huge surprise… it happens to a lot of us. 

Here’s what happened: I tried to string two marathons together that were too far apart to work off of one build, but too close together to allow me to recover properly before building for the second. I was advised not to do this by the person who I pay to advise me. Did I go ahead and do it anyway? Yes I did. I know, I know, at least it’s a lesson learned.

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After doing this in spring, I came into summer with a season of unstructured running. Think running by feel, ditching the log, lots of yoga, stand up paddle boarding, cycling and other cross-training activities. This also means that I currently have the energy and more desire to run with my 10-year-old son. When I’m training hard, I often tell him I won’t go with him because I’m either too tired or it doesn’t fit with my training. Now, that things are more loose, this is what a typical training sessions looks like: 


First of all, my son trains sporadically. It’s a what-I’m-in-the-mood-for approach, not a Saturdays-at-10a.m. structure. Our sessions together usually start with around 2K of easy jogging to warm-up (the distance is based entirely on whatever route he picks). Then, we get back to our house through a series of connecting alleyways which form a large square. This is where we run our intervals. We start with a bunch of running drills and then strides. Strides are 10 year-old boys’ favourite. They can go from zero to a hundred in three steps. Meanwhile, it takes me at least 30 meters to get up to full speed, so I’m always well behind him.

After three or four of these, we launch into a loop in the alleyways which takes us around a little over two minutes to complete when running hard. I call it 600m but I’m sure it’s closer to 500m. Again, I just follow his lead, trying to keep up. Every time I pull up to him, we take a sharp corner. He seems to fly where I lose all momentum. On some intervals, he says we’re going to go medium-hard until a certain point when we have to accelerate to full-speed until the finish. Sometimes we do the whole thing as fast as we can. I don’t time them. I also don’t time the recovery. We just huff and puff and then go again when we feel ready. We do as many as we want: sometimes it’s two, other times it’s four. Then we do some shorter distance intervals about (about 200m). Again, he blasts these and it’s all I can do to keep up. At the end he goes “OK, that’s enough” and goes to watch T.V. while I cool down alone because I’m 42 and I need to. 

I’m curious to see how this has me set up for fall.