You hear a lot about junk miles, those extra miles we put in during the season that don't really serve a training purpose. But during the offseason I've discovered those miles are converted from junk to joy. Over the past few days I've logged a handful of run and bike miles simply for the pleasure of being outside, feeling the wind on my face and enjoying my surroundings. Pure joy. It's something we don't have the luxury of doing with big races and goals on the horizon.
I finally started running again on Wednesday after a 2.5 week break. I only went 20 minutes and I loved every moment. Then Thursday while in Toronto for business I went out and ran another 30 minutes, but this time with no Garmin and no clue of how far or how fast I was going. I ran up and down the little side streets of Yorkville, the neighborhood I was staying in, and paid no attention to pace or effort. It was such a pleasure to run just for the sake of running.
Today I met up with a friend and rode multiple loops of Prospect Park, chatting and catching up about our weekend so far. It was 60 degrees, sunny and beautiful, and we rode until we didn't feel like riding anymore. No goals, no plan, just a ride. We stopped off for coffee and muffins and chatted some more before calling it a day.
So in my confusion over scheduling and structure, I think I've discovered what I need to do - find joy. I love training for this sport or I wouldn't do it. You spend way too many hours preparing for an Ironman to feel forced or obligated. But even though I enjoy it, the need to hit miles, paces or heart rates can be a drag. So for now I'll just keep doing whatever I feel like doing and if that means going slow, stopping for muffins or just jogging to see a new place, at least I know I'll enjoy it.