Thursday, October 18, 2012

The habitual runner

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Daily miles
At some point in my life I became a creature of habit. Twenty years ago I'd vary everything in my life, from my morning routine all the way through to my bedtime. Marriage, kids and commuting by train necessitated an eventual compliance to daily schedules and structure. But when I began running in 2008, all bets were off in terms of where, how and when I would run. Even on the streets of my neighborhood at 4 AM, I would rarely cover the same route two days in a row.

That has all changed, and my running routine now contains less variability than a watch assembly line. Every night my running gear is readied for morning, and my process going from waking to running is done on a minute by minute schedule. Instead of mixing up my route each day, it's always the same roads run exactly the same way to cover exactly the same distance (2.53 miles).

After almost four years of competing, my race schedule has also become a bit of a habit. My expectations were upset this week when I discovered that the Run for the Warriors 10K has been pushed forward from mid-November to this weekend. I love that race but my schedule won't work with the timing. I feel badly about missing this race, because even though I've only run it the past two years, it's on my racing schedule.

I took to the streets again this morning and, like yesterday, it was cold outside. I dressed with more layers today and didn't get around my route as quickly as I did on Tuesday. In fact, it took me over a minute longer, which calculates to about 30 seconds per mile. One thing that remained the same was my route. Some habits are hard to break.

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