Flex Training Plan to Changing Circumstances

What do you do when you spend your entire Thursday evening at the airport to eventually find out your flight and weekend plans are canceled? In this week’s blog, I will share how I dealt with the cancellation and other factors (curveballs) from a training perspective. It was an eventful four days…

When I put my training plan in place going into the week I had to account for several factors that were different than the norm for me. One was I would be traveling to Connecticut from Thursday evening and arriving back in Tampa Sunday around 1:00 pm. This meant I would not have access to a bike. The weather forecast also called for temperatures between 20-40 degrees with snow the first two days. If you know me I don’t handle the cold very well so my plan was to do all my running inside.

With these considerations, I front loaded my week with bike workouts while saving one for when I got back Sunday afternoon on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. I was on a high volume run week which meant for this week I was going to run 10 miles on Friday, 20 miles on Saturday, and then 10 miles when I got back after the bike ride. The thought of running 30 miles inside on Friday and Saturday just sounded brutal but there were no options…no way I was running in freezing slush out of town.

Curveball #1 – Flight Cancellation

My flight was scheduled to depart Tampa to Connecticut at 7:21 pm Thursday evening. As I packed for the trip I was aware of the significant winter cold front sweeping through the northeast. It didn’t dawn on me until I received my first text message flight update at 4:21 pm from Jet Blue that there may be travel delays associated with the weather moving in. The text message indicated my flight was delayed only 18 minutes. No worries, right?

I have to explain the next seven hours as being a slow drip of travel torture as I received a total of 20 text messages with the same message indicating my flight was delayed again. The clerks at the counter were providing context to the delays. The plane we would be flying on was in Connecticut attempting to get to Tampa. On two occasions the plane was taxing to eventually be told to turnaround and go back to the gate. The plane never took off and both the clerks and my final text message update seven hours after my first message confirmed my flight was canceled.

What did this do for my training schedule and weekend plans? One more factor not shared already was I had given up my football season ticket to the University of Central Florida (UCF) vs. University of Cincinnati football game in Orlando Saturday evening as I was going to be out of town. If you missed it, ESPN College Gameday, produced their show at UCF for the first time ever and the game would be broadcast as the national game of the week on ABC. In essence this would be one of the most celebrated games on campus ever. I was going to miss the game as my out of town plans were already scheduled and I had planned to watch the game from my hotel room. With the flight being canceled and my ticket gone, my plan was to watch the game from home. More on how this came into the picture shortly.

Back to Friday morning, I determined to keep my plan of running 10 miles in the morning, but do it outside in the beautiful weather and surroundings of Safety Harbor vs. the alternative inside run up north. This was one good outcome of the trip being canceled. I then switched my Saturday and Sunday up a bit as now I would be able to join the RunVie team race at the St. Pete Run Fest Sunday morning. I would not race but join for a run while being in town. The bike ride would move to Saturday on Gulf Boulevard sandwiched by two runs.

Curveball #2 – A ticket to see UCF Football

Friday evening I received a call from one of my UCF friends who said they had a friend selling a ticket to the game. I was back in the big game on campus in East Orlando. That was the easy decision. The next decision would be determining how to make my training schedule work as the game would not finish until near midnight Saturday. I still needed to get my bike ride and run completed and the second run of 20 miles. With the added travel time lost on the calendar and being in East Orlando late I needed to be efficient with the time remaining in the weekend to fit everything in.

I decided to bring my bike and do my ride and run in the hills of San Antonio on the way to the game. It was mid-day Saturday when I completed a fantastic ride in the sunny blue skies and 70 degree temperatures.

Curveball #3 – Down I go

As I completed my ride I was thinking of the route I would take on the run before heading out of San Antonio. I drifted onto the grass going around a corner and as I was transitioning back I took the reentry angle incorrectly, my bike tire got caught in a groove, and down I went down landing on my head, wrist and knee. The wrist went into my chest braking some of the fall, my knee got cut and bruised and I’m not even sure what my head felt like. It was the shock of the moment I guess. With the knee bruised up good and my chest hurting I decided to skip the run. I went to LA Fitness, showered and cleaned the knee and headed to UCF. I was a bit woozy but on with the plan I went.

The next change that I planned due to the UCF game coming back in the picture was to stay over and run the glorious Clay Loop in Clermont Sunday morning before returning home.

The UCF game and atmosphere was fantastic as the Knights drilled Cincinnati 38-13. The plan would work out well as I headed out of campus just before midnight. With shy of five hours sleep I started the 10 mile Clay Loop run. The first mile was rough trying to settle into the pain of the chest bouncing with each step. Having almost the same injury last year but in the rib cage area, I was hoping the chest pain would settle in and I’d be ok and it did just that.

By the end of the first loop I was pleased with my effort and leg endurance. I stopped at the truck, changed shirts and headband, ate a banana and downed an electrolyte drink. Off I went on the second loop. My first loop was slower than the pace I did with the boys several weeks back so my intent was to get closer to that pace. It can be tougher to push yourself when running solo but knowing I would report out to them and the standard that was set on the prior run, I wanted to at least be close and the weather was in my favor.

I picked up the pace and inched closer and closer to the overall pace we ran. The last three miles were really tough as the legs and hip flexors were tightening up. The final few miles of the Clay Loop are most difficult with several of the steepest climbs in the route. By the end of mile 19 I was one second off the overall pace we had set. I kicked it into one last gear and ran my fastest mile split of the day to beat the pace by one second. I hope they don’t read this to then want to go out and do it a few seconds faster next time. They could easily blow this pace away if they want to…

The morning was a huge success. I was sore all over from the fall and run but felt great to get in a great hard ride Saturday afternoon, be a part of an incredible experience at UCF Saturday night and follow up with a great effort Sunday morning at one of my favorite places to run, The Clay Loop.

Curveball #4 – Oh the head

When I fell Saturday afternoon, I hit my head quite hard. I felt cloudy on the drive to UCF but as the day went on I thought I felt OK. I think the excitement of the game and being around friends helped a lot. During the Sunday morning run my head felt OK other than battling the discomfort of my legs and hip flexors tightening up from all the miles and pushing at the end. That is normal however.

When I was driving back home a headache grew and the cobweb feel was back. I thought if I took a nap it would help. That would also give my legs a breather before wanting to do a couple mile recovery run Sunday night to help the legs loosen up. The headache didn’t go away however and the final run for the week was canceled, just like my flight. This was just a bonus run so nothing was lost. It was more important to listen to my body and it was telling me something was off.

It was an interesting week and life happens. I often flex the schedule during a week based on changing circumstances without losing a workout all together. Sometimes life does impact our schedules and that is fine too. Think big picture with overall goals while also listening to your body. In most cases your body is giving you queues and it’s important to recognize them. I learned a big lesson years ago distinguishing discomfort from pain. I strive to drive through discomfort and get stronger by doing so. When pain is involved it’s important to distinguish if it can do further harm by continuing.

– Add Health to Your Life


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