To Plan Or Not To Plan

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 2, 2010

So….what does one do when they have the post-vacation blues?

Sign up for a fun Spring race! :mrgreen:

I am the type of person who has to have things to look forward to…or bust! I decided that I would sign up for an April race to inspire my training until my half marathon in May. I am also debating on running a race on my birthday—May 16th, but I need to think about it some more!

I signed up for the Billy Taylor 15k (9.32 miles) in Guelph, Ontario on April 18th! The race was cheap and only 40 minutes from home (most races are 1 hour and up to get to from my location!), so I decided to take the plunge. Plus, I did my undergraduate degree at University of Guelph and haven’t been back in ages! It will be fun to reminisce old times. :) It will also be fun to go back healthier than ever. I am in such a better place in my life than I was during my undergraduate degree.

A picture of Johnston Hall from U of Guelph:


All of my intro to psychology courses were in this building called War Mem:


Good times!

My finishing time for last summer’s Acura 10 mile race was 1 hour 26 minutes 43 seconds which is an average pace of 8:40 min/mile. It was also the first time I had ever run 10 miles. I was very happy!


For this race on April 18th (9.32 miles/15k) I have set a goal time of 1 hour 18 minutes, which is a faster 8:22 min/mile pace. I will be working on my speed over the next few weeks to prepare for my first race of the season. It should be exciting and very challenging. I also have to do hill work as the course involves a long hill at the end.

I got caught up on updating my Spring Training Plan from the past two weeks…

These are the workouts I did while in Florida: [Click to enlarge]

Untitled (3) 

Overall I worked out 8 out of 12 days while on vacation (2 rest days per week for a total of 4 rest days), which is basically in line with what I try to aim for normally. I found that working out and running on vacation totally renewed me and left me feeling inspired and refreshed. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery!

I was really happy with my workouts while on vacation. I didn’t plan anything before I left- I simply left the two weeks as ‘TBD’ and exercised according to how I felt each morning. I didn’t want ANY pressure at all while on vacation, so this approach really worked for me.

Are you an exercise planner? Do you make your schedule or training plan days or weeks in advance? Or do you decide what you are doing the day of?

Generally speaking, I think there are two types of exercise planning:

1) Specific day-to-day plans


2) general, over-arching plans

and then of course many people prefer not to have any plan and to just go with the flow!

I would love to be a specific exercise planner, but I have found that typically doesn’t pan out for me. You may have noticed that my Spring Training Plan was a huge fail in that I had everything scheduled out, but then I ended up changing it all around each day because I felt like something else! It totally did not work for me. It doesn’t mean that I am not committed or training properly, but that I am just impulsive I guess.

The farthest I go is doing general plans. For example, I plan races to stay motivated.

I also aim for the following each week:

  • one long run
  • one speedwork session (new in the past month)
  • 3-5 days of running total

I find that some weeks I need more rest and other weeks I feel on top of the world. It just varies quite a bit for me!



  • If you missed some of my vacation recaps you can get caught up here. All of my posts are in chronological order under Florida 2010 Vacation.

Time to get caught up on 2 episodes of GOSSIP GIRL!!! :mrgreen: I have missed it dearly…

Hope you have a GOOD Friday night!

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather (Where's the Beach) April 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I am SUCH a planner so I say plan. LOL


Heather (Heather's Dish) April 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm

i know what you mean about post-vacation blues. last year we went to the Carribbean for a week, and when we got home it felt like we’d never left! at least you signed up for some fun races!!!


Sarah @ THE FOODIE DIARIES April 2, 2010 at 7:59 pm

love getting my GG dose back-to-back. 2 consecutive hours of nate & chuck are better than uno ;)


Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA April 2, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Congrats on scheduling the race!! Too bad we can’t train together we’re pretty much at the same pace (My last half-marathon was 8:21min/mile).

I also agree that working out on vacations (some of the days) is a good idea…Makes relaxing in the sun, laying by the pool, and sipping fruity drinks that much more relaxing :)

Are you running any other races this year???




Jen S. April 2, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I plan to a certain extent. I try to make a plan of how much I want to do in any given week but if something comes up or I’m not feeling well I want to be able to change things without it completely screwing up the schedule. So far it has worked well for me.

Good for you for working out while on vacation! I didn’t workout once on my last vacation, but it’s not entirely my fault. I was 17 (I’m 20 now), and you could only be in the gym at the resort if you were over 18 or had an adult with you and neither of my parents wanted to go. I did swim quite a bit but I don’t think anyone would call it a workout.


Nancy April 2, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I used to live on that street!!!! Though, I moved out of Guelph a few years ago, but I’m still not that far away. That’s so awesome :)


Allie (Live Laugh Eat) April 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

You just ran 12 miles–you’re gonna rock this race! Your school looks similar to mine–very gothic and beautiful.


Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 2, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Gossip Girl – awesome!!!! You missed a lot!
And I like plans! I can’t wait to train for and run a race once I am able to exercise again after healing from my stress fracture.


Lauren April 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I am definitely an exercise planner! I write everything down in my calendar. I try not to be obsessive and inflexible about it, but I need to know that the plans are there. It just makes it easier to know I’m getting all the right amounts of cardio/strength.

There are a few Toronto races coming up, if you are interested! Guelph looks lovely, I’ve never been.


Jenna April 2, 2010 at 8:41 pm

That is going to be such a beautiful run!

I am a planner. I kind of freak out if I don’t have things planned. :)


Megan April 2, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I definitely plan my exercise out – mostly the strength training aspects. I alternate chest/back, arms and legs workouts, or alternate doing push-pull workouts.

And I’m so excited about your race in Guelph – I’m just finishing up my undergrad there :). Too bad I think I will have moved home by the 18th, but if I’m still in town I’ll be cheerin’ you on!


Jennifer April 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I do make exercise schedules but they never pan out :S

You and I run at the same pace. Are you doing fartlex for your speed training?


Samantha April 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm

GET SOME!! You’re going to do great!!


Lizzie April 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I did a lot of planning last year – then I got injured, took 2-3 months off and now am training for a 1/2 marathon in 3 weeks (eek!). This is my first 1/2 (I had to withdraw from the other one b/c of said injury) and I definitely haven’t gone with any sort of plan. I started t-mill running in February, and today I did my second long run of 9 miles. I definitely prefer to have a plan – it’s nice to see things all laid out and to have a goal in mind in advance. However, I haven’t really had that luxury this time, so I am just focusing on gradually increasing mileage, strength training, and stretching, stretching, stretching!! I am VERY bad at doing it (as in just find it boring so always cut it short) and I think that contributed to some of my problems last year. While I am definitely feeling better, the real struggle is the psychological part of it – overcoming my fear and getting back out there! :)

Hope you’re enjoying your evening . . . I’m doing the same thing . .. but more In Plain Sight and less Gossip Girl. It’s nice to relax after a busy vacation – hee hee!


Stacey April 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Good luck. I think that’s great that you have signed up for a race.

When on vacation or even everyday I have to plan out my time for exercise so that it gets done and life doesn’t take over. When on vacation I exercise in the morning so I have hte rest of the day to do whatever I want. I also usually exercise extra before leaving for vacation (the week or two before), so if I don’t exercise as much I still feel like I have banked some days so it’s okay.


Candice April 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I am a huge planner. When I ran my first half marathon, I planned out my race schedule for 24 weeks of training, and I never missed on run. Crazy. I am actually trying to become more flexible in my life in general. Not that there is anything wrong with planning, but it’s a great way for me to stretch myself.

You’ve got me itching to sign up for a race!!


Jennifer April 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I really have to plan it out. Each Sunday I write down what I want to do. That doesn’t mean that it always happens the way I have it written down, but at least I have a plan. I may switch a run for a step class at the gym, but as long as I work out on scheduled days I am happy :)


Chantal April 2, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Somewhat unrelated but I didn’t know how much the Guelph campus looks like the Queen’s campus (where I went!). I’m moving back to Ontario this summer and you just got me so excited about coming back up North (though, it’s not that hard to get me excited about that!!)


Ameena April 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I used to plan my vacation exercise but I am going to try to roll with it like you did. I definitely think that is the way to be on vacation!


Jenny April 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Glad you found an awesome way to beat the post-vacation blues:)


Jolene ( April 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Yes, I always plan my exercise in advance. It is NEVER spontaneous :-)


Lynda April 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Guelph’s my home town :) I now live just outside of Guelph, it’s a beautiful place to live. I’m going to try and be at the Billy Taylor run to cheer you on. I would love to run it someday too. I’m slowly building on my 3 miles a day.

I know exactly what you mean about coming home from vacation, it’s kinds depressing. But in another way it’s good to get back to the every day routine.


caronae April 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm

The race sounds like the perfect spring motivation and your school is pretty! I like overarching plans; i.e., I will strength train twice a week or get to a yoga class once a week or do a long run most sundays. Works for me!


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is April 2, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I always need things to look forward to as well. And yes, I plan my exercise every week!


Angela April 2, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Hey – Florida misses your glow!!

I am a planner fo sho! I plan in my runs first – like you do with 1 long run, speedwork and then 2-3 easy runs. Then I plan in 1-2 yoga & 1-2 weight lifting.


Katie April 2, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I am a big time planner. I have to have something planned, but I am usually pretty okay with deviating from the plan. I am doing P90X right now, which is a very regimented plan, but someone else did all the planning. I am loving it!


RJ April 3, 2010 at 2:46 am

The workout I am planning and adding into the mix is my own Whittle my Middle FOR CANADA Challenge! Heading from Scotland to Vancouver in 6 weeks for a friend’s wedding followed by some holiday fun. I am going to design my own dress on this website I think you might like it!


Tina April 3, 2010 at 7:04 am

I am definitely a planner with my workouts. However, I don’t freak out if plans have to change because I need an extra rest day or something comes up. I like having the organization though of something planned out already when I know I am up for a workout that day. :)


emptynutjar April 3, 2010 at 7:25 am

wow – u are an amazing person…what a blog! i think i must add u to my blogroll…u are inspirational.
i am a fellow canadian and am awed by you and your blog!
i keep hearing about the Glow bars, and now i put the famous face to the famous bars :)


Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg April 3, 2010 at 7:27 am

I’m definitely more of a general planner. Like you, I aim to run 3-5 days a week, and between 20-25 miles a week. As long as I’m hitting that range, I know I’m good!


Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 3, 2010 at 8:03 am

I hate the post vacation blues :( I love your solution!


christina cadden April 3, 2010 at 8:21 am

Good luck!


Martha April 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

Haha I’m thinking about running the 5k version… but isn’t it on April 26?? That’s what it says on the website….:)


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 3, 2010 at 9:25 am

it says April 18th…where r u seeing the 26th>?


Diana @ frontyardfoodie April 3, 2010 at 9:21 am

How fun! I think you’ll definitely hit your time goal. You’re just that type of person!

I’m doing a 5K on Mother’s day but that will be my last one this year probably because by that time I’ll be nearly six months pregnant!


Lisa April 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I definitely get post-vacation blues. So I start planning my next vacation. :)


Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) April 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Have a great Easter, Angela!!



Christine (The Raw Project) April 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I always get post-vacation blues, but having something to look forward to always helps. Hmmm, I need to start looking for spring races to sign up for, how fun.


Jennifer April 4, 2010 at 8:39 am

So glad to hear you are coming back to UofG!

I am still debating whether to run the Billy Taylor 5k that weekend. Hoping next year I will be up for the 15k.


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