What did you do on Saturday, September 3rd?
Or what did you do for lunch last Monday?
Can you remember off the top of your head?
I’m a creature of routine. Most days, I wake up early, drink a cup of Joe, run, eat, work, eat, work, bike, and sleep. Rinse and repeat.
It’s productive, healthy, and stress-free. I find comfort in consistency and am at my best physically and mentally when executing daily responsibilities with discipline.
Yet, my days blend together.
I recently came across a video of ultrarunner Gary Robbins running a 105 miler that he designed himself. It was a project years in the making. Before he kicked off the day, he said:
“It’s not every day that you know you’re about to experience something you’ll never forget for the rest of your life, and it’s very special. When you have those days, to know going into it, no matter what happens, I’ll never forget today. And so many days we glaze through and gaze past, and they don’t mean enough, and it’s really special to know going into this for the rest of my days that I’ll never forget whatever happens…” (video link: 6:06 mark)
It’s now almost October. So far in 2022, how many days of such impact have I lived? I’m not sure I can recall a single one, and I can count with one hand for the last five years.
Experiences that demand I put away my phone and be fully engaged. Experiences that make snapping and filtering a hundred photos almost seem wrong.
With middle age comes a certain kind of “social laziness.” Over the last several years, I’ve become very precious with my “me-time,” frequently saying no to people, social engagements and trips that would take me out of my routine. I know my preferences, what fits my lifestyle, and what creates value and serenity for me; at least, that’s what I tell myself.
It’s quite comforting, really…until a person becomes too attached to who he thinks he is.
If you think about it, the stronger you feel about a particular way of doing things, the result is often an equally strong dislike for a different way of doing things. It breeds narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and stubbornness.
And frankly, it leads to unhappy experiences because you’re only truly comfortable when things go according to your routine and habits. But we know life is random and, at times, chaotic.
Unfortunately, I’ve fallen into this trap in recent years, which is why “I-will-never forget-today” days are few and far between.
As an endurance athlete, you get strong and fit by doing the right things day in and day out. Show up, chop wood, and carry water. Nothing glamorous. Just plain ole’ consistent hard work. And that includes saying no to an epic ski trip or a multi-day thru-hike at exotic locations. Spontaneity is to be avoided.
Have I been so single-minded in chasing a new marathon PB that I’ve forgotten to live a little? But the disciplined and consistency required are why I love endurance sports.
It’s a balancing act, and I’ve tipped the scale. With this realization, I’ve put extra thought into mapping out the upcoming marathon season and beyond.
Plan a long run at a beautiful location even though it’s out of the way. Schedule hikes on trails I’ve never visited for active recovery days. Here are just a few examples to spice up my well-oiled routine.
And after my A race in the winter, I have a few exciting projects that will create lifetime memories! Can’t wait.
How about you? Are you a routine person like me? Or the spontaneous, go-with-the-flow type? Either way, if you have a big race or an epic challenge coming up, don’t forget to have a plan of attack for fueling. Check out some of our fan-favorite pieces to help you pick suitable energy gels.
- Energy Gel Dos and Don’ts
- The Complete Guide to Fueling (Daily Nutrition, Recovery, Energy Gel Strategy)
- To Eat or Not to Eat Before Workouts? Energy Gels as Daily Fuel
- The Best Energy Gels for Ultramarathons
- Review: Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels, Instant Surge