Practice like you train
September 6, 2011
I had a perhaps not so novel idea today. Why should we practice the same things every day? Instead, why shouldn’t we have a larger purpose for every single practice session and take some ideas from runners?
I’m a lapsed runner of sorts. I still run regularly, but I haven’t trained since I was an overly enthusiastic newbie two years ago. I’m in a rut. In this rut I let my subscription to Runner’s World expire, too.
I resubscribed in a hope to get some kind of motivational tip that would spur me back into a crazed training phase. I’ve been reading a few pages here and there and I read today about how and why you should have a purpose before you even begin running. Without a purpose, it’s too easy to get bound up in time contraints, the weather, or any of the million other reasons we usually fail to do what we say we’re going to do.
Yeah, we should have a purpose when we practice. That part is pretty obvious. But have we related our purpose to longer term goals in a meaningful way?
I run about 3 to 4 times a week. One day consists of a long run, which serves to build up endurance and help strengthen the legs and I do speedwork once a week to get faster. The remaining 2 days are easy runs, where I’m letting the work of the harder two workouts settle in.
I hate doing the same thing every day, so I’m not one for making up a routine. Instead, I tend to go with the flow which sometimes sets me up for failure. Translating my running workouts into my flute workouts might help me reach my goals faster. So here’s a quick sketch of how my different training runs relate to my practice sessions:
The Long Run – A longer than average practice session that gives you adequate time to cover all the areas of your playing that need consistent attention. It’s also the time to just enjoy the feeling of being able to play your instrument and not have to watch the clock.
Speedwork – Technical practice. Want to bump up your scales a couple notches on the metronome? Treat this “workout” as speedwork and limit to one or two days a week.
The Recovery Run – Focused, slow practice. Practice what you need to, but let your body assimilate the changes you’re making in your playing. Enjoy the recovery.
The Social Run – Jam session!
The Whatever Run – Play what you want without pressure. Use it as opportunity to explore different areas of your awareness. Or don’t.
*Originally published on The Sensible Flutist, August 2011
© Alexis Del Palazzo 2011