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When life throws you curve balls in training, go with the flow

The thing with running is that the training isn't always going to go according to plan. When that happens, go with the flow.


I do well with routine and it’s not just an ADHD thing. Runners are often protective of their daily regimens, especially when nearing competition. This can be a challenging mindset to have when life throws a curve ball, but there are ways to stay on track with training. It just takes a little tinkering and willingness.

My partner, Candace, and I spent the weekend taking care of two of our nephews: five-year-old Ethan, and two-year-old Evan. Anyone who has young children in their life knows that these tiny people pack a wallop of energy and emotions. We had fun taking them on adventures, colouring, playing and baking pumpkin pies. Spending the weekend with them also meant I was away from home and my routine. Being just two weeks out from running the Nebraska Half-Marathon, that had me pushing the panic button –but only for a moment. I knew that I could adjust to keep myself on track training-wise. I’ve become an expert at doing that by using the following tactics.

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Have a plan: It’s important for me to plan how I’ll fit my training in when I’m not in my own environment, and settled into my routine. Going into this past weekend, I knew it was going to be more about my nephews’ routine than mine. So, I made sure to be up early so I could somewhat mimic my routine at home: Get up, eat, walk Skylar, run. I had also checked out the neighborhood during our first night there so I could plan my route. These little things, along with packing my protein powder, sticking to healthy eating, and drinking a lot of water help me keep me very close to my regular routine.

Adjust rest time: Sleep is my biggest challenge when I’m away from home. I’m an early riser, so if I don’t get to sleep early, I’m left feeling very tired. It’s not fun feeling like a zombie going into those early morning runs. The only saving grace is the adrenaline that kicks in regardless of the lack of zzz’s. But that only takes me so far. Eventually it wears off and I’m left tired and cranky. My remedy this past weekend was to nap when our nephews did– despite not being much of a napper. I ended up just closing my eyes and resting, which did help to take the tired edge off and hopefully prevented my immune system from getting too worn out.

Go with the flow: Sometimes, despite my best efforts, things don’t always work out exactly as I think they will. When life throws a curve ball, sometimes it’s best to jut go with the flow. A minor example of this is when I forgot my GPS watch this weekend. At first I was upset. It’s an important part of my training. I had also come to the conclusion that I could do the next day’s workout effectively without my watch. I just had to get a bit creative with my route and accept that I’d be holding my phone for the first 40 easy minutes of the 80 minute workout. By simply adjusting my route to finish the final 40 hard-effort minutes at the nearby track, I was able to drop my phone and pump out the necessary effort level.

I’ve come to understand that I’ll never be the best at training outside of my own environment. But I don’t want that to stop me from enjoying what these breaks from my norm have to offer. Some of the best times I’ve had over the past year-and-half have been during these times. Whether out in B.C. with family running and hiking the hills of Pender Harbour Christmas time, or something as simple as spending a weekend with my nephews here in Omaha, it’s always worth making whatever adjustments I need to make.