Maintaining a Training Plan after Losing a Running Buddy

Running Revamping my training, and Maintaining my plan On My Own

A few weeks ago, my running buddy gave me some disappointing news. He’d injured his Achilles tendon and would be out at least for a few weeks. Not only was I concerned for him, but selfishly, I was really concerned for me too. Historically I have not been very consistent on my own. In high school, I managed to stay fit and motivated because of the wonderful team members I had on my swim team. I am ridiculously gregarious by nature, and I HATE being alone. (Just ask my sister, she’ll tell you 😊. Every time I go to drive somewhere, I call her! She LOVES it!) The thought of me running 20 plus miles a week alone with no external motivation to wake up in the morning, and no external motivation to run faster than I really want to, terrified me.

For more than a moment, I was pretty sure that my plans of running a half marathon in October were shot.

Prepping for My Solo Run:

I vastly underestimated myself and the kindness of my running buddy. He encouraged me to go even if I was alone. He still checks in everyday to see how my run was, and how far I ran. I know it’s killing him sitting on the sidelines just watching me run. Recovery will go faster than he knows though, and then we’ll be back at it. Anyhoo I had my first 8 mile run last Friday. This was my first 8 miler in three weeks. The last one we ran, left both of us injured and dying. (If you haven't read my last post about taking training breaks to heal, check it out here.) Even thinking about running 8 miles again would cause my heart to pump faster and sweat to bead on my brow. Now here I was not only thinking of running 8 miles, but also planning on running those 8 miles by myself. I took my own advice and revamped my running playlist. To this point I had two running playlists and Alternative Endurance Playlist, which had a lot of great upbeat songs, but also some slower ones I didn’t know, and a Running Nostalgia playlist that I created, which really became a Nostalgia playlist. It had too many slow songs on there, as well as songs that were no longer motivating to me. After revamping and creating my own playlist, I was ready to hit the streets. I also purchased a running hydration vest. 

The Run:

I started out on my run at 7:00 am. The sun was already beating down on the pavement, and I had started sweating before I had even started running. I started slowly. My shin splints had eased up since we had taken about three weeks off from our intense training regime. I eased into the first mile, focusing on my breathing pattern, and the beat of the music. It always embarrasses me how dependent on my music I am. Luckily Spotify’s shuffling of the songs was perfect. One mile rolled into two, which rolled into three then four. I passed the part where my headphones had died the last time I ran 8 miles. I crossed the halfway mark and kept flying. My feet thundered down the pavement. When I finally rounded the last corner into the home stretch, I was elated. Normally, that is where I would step up my pace, and empty whatever I have left in my tank. But even as I tried to speed up, I knew there was nothing left for my muscles to use. I finished having ran 8 miles in 1:23:14. My average pace was 10:23. Not the fastest I’ve ever done, and about a minute slower than my usual average pace. But I felt good. I felt accomplished, happy, tired. I actually was looking forward to my 9 mile run the next week. The fear that I felt leading up to the run had dissipated. I felt free, like I can continue my training on my own. I am once again excited about running, and ready to continue my training even if it is alone. 

Here are my tips if you lose your running buddy mid-training plan: 

1.       Mix up your playlist! I cannot stress enough how much this has helped me maintain my pace and keep myself motivated.
2.       Maintain the routine you were doing with your workout buddy. If you are already in the habit, then it’ll be easier to stay on track.
3.       Have your running buddy keep you accountable. Ask them to check in with you, even if they aren’t running. It’ll help keep you motivated, and hopefully help keep them motivated as well.

     Comment below how you stay committed when you are training alone!