"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Getting Back On Track

I just deleted my last two posts, as I'd jumped the tracks. I've done it before, I'll do it again, and I know some people actually prefer when I go off on some personal tangent because I think I'm being amusing, but it's an example of what I call "west coast hubris."

West Coast Hubris/ East Coast Hubris

West coast hubris is: it happened to me, therefore it's relevant. A perfect recent example from the news is that local TV news here covered the two day closing of a section of the 405 highway in Los Angeles, which turned out to be a minor inconvenience with the catchy name "Carmageddon." There is absolutely no reason why I should have heard about it. The reasoning was: it's happening in L.A., therefore it's important.

This is the reason I've never had a Twitter account. I could have a very popular one; I think of something funny or clever to say (at least relative to what I've seen on Twitter) at least a half dozen times per day. But is it really relevant? Should people waste their time on it? I think not.

East coast hubris is the opposite: if it doesn't happen to me, it's not important. The recent news example is the heat wave crossing the United States. It's not really news, even though dozens of people die from excessive heat in Missouri, until someone in news in New York is inconvenienced. I still get news from television, making me a dying breed (if you exclude those who get all their news from something like the Colbert Report), but I had to watch the BBC to hear about the Sri Lankan election, as the general impression is: it's not relevant to us. When the next U.S. military action is there or the next terrorist threat comes from there, then in retrospect it'll be important, but people will be asking: why didn't we hear about this earlier?

Oh yes, this is a running blog...

Beside trying to get the blog back on track, I've been trying to find the direction for my training. There have been two major obstacles; first, my heels hurt whenever I start to ramp up training and second, I can only manage a few weeks of training before respiratory problems cause a setback.

I started running trails because I can run slowly on soft surfaces for hours without heel pain, as long as the terrain isn't overly technical and there are few sharp turns. I'm terrible at ultradistances, but it seemed to be my only option. A couple of years ago, I thought about doing short track races, as I could get ready for them quickly (and it's literally more my speed), but the track workouts made my heels hurt - I couldn't handle repeated turns at high speed. Last year, I thought about returning to road marathons, but my heels can't handle much more than 90 minutes of roads.

I've decided that I can probably race well at 1500-5000 meters again, if I simulate track speedwork by running hills on trails. So far, it seems to be a good plan, but it'll take a long time to see if it works. I'm so far from where I need to be to race well, even in my age class, that it's frustrating at times.

Here's what a week looks like:

Monday 60-90 minutes, speeding up through marathon pace to about 1/2 marathon pace
Tuesday 50-60 minutes, with downhill sprints or 16x100m-100m
Wednesday 50-60 minutes, with 4-7x 4-5minutes (roughly 800m) uphill @ 5K pace effort
Thursday 20-30 minutes, with running drills and plyometrics
Friday 20-30 minutes, with strength circuit training and core work
Saturday 20-30 minutes, with flexibility training
Sunday: 50-60 minutes with a time trial, plus 2x1 min. all-out, or 8-12x400m uphill @ 1 mile effort.

That's hard workouts on Wednesday and Sunday, moderate-to-easy on Monday and Tuesday, easy Thursday through Saturday.

There's not any ultrarunning there, for those expecting my return to the long stuff.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

This post is a perfect example of ... Mid-[yes, with hyphen]West hubris; i.e., only-I-can-spot-the-ways-others-are-being-idiosyncratically-hubristic-and-call-them-out-on-it.

Is that typically Mid-[yes, with hyphen]West or just you?

Incidentally, not giving a fuck about what happens in the rest of the world is just generically American more than anything else, I would opine.

"If it happened to me it must be relevant and worth noting" is the battle cry of the whole blogosphere, man! Where have YOU been hiding?

SteveQ said...

G: Only on the East Coast do they think the Midwest (no hyphen) starts in the Alleghenies and end in the Rockies and stray as far south as the Ozarks.

What I was hoping I pointed out was that I fell into the common trap, when I was hoping to perhaps fall into an uncommon one.

sea legs girl said...

I can't believe you deleted the last post! Definitely amusing - and hilarious comments.

Colin said...

Circuit training? Drills? Plyometrics? Core work? Flexibility training? Who are you ... and what have you done with Steve Quick?

Seriously, though, that looks like a good peak week of training. I especially like your planned progression runs on Monday (although I'd classify that as another hard day, especially if you plan to spend much time near half marathon pace). Just don't kill yourself trying to PR every workout ...

Good luck!

Jean said...

That's what this "Carmageddon" business was all about?! I kept seeing references to it and had no idea. Ridiculous.

You really should have a Twitter account, though. Might not be relevant, but I would enjoy reading it!

Diana said...

I had never really noticed what you call West Coast hubris (and I lived in L.A. for quite a while), but I completely agree on your definition of East Coast hubris. It's especially relevant when it comes to weather. Ever notice how snowstorms only get national coverage once they move east of Ohio?

You should start a movement to organize short-distance trail races. You wouldn't have to deal with the repeated sharp turns of a track, you could appreciate nature, and you'd be finished in less than half an hour.

SteveQ said...

@Diana: Been there, done that. The Upper Midwest Trail Runners actually have a nice series of shorter races.

Keith said...

We have the same thing here. There is the "national" news, which gets decided by some guy in Toronto, and almost always happens in Toronto. Like the time it snowed a few inches and the mayor called out the army to help out. Yes, that made them a laughingstock in places that get serious snow, like in parts of the Maritimes, where snowfall, (ONE snowfall) is measured in meters, and this happens several times a year.