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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How's the Training Going? Where's the Training Going?

I ran into one of my first running buddies in the grocery store. He's in his 80's now, but he was the age I am now back when I first started running. He was one of those rare guys who ran in the 1960's, before Nike was a shoe company and guys from the Boston area made up most of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon (and you had to use those initials). His training philosophy was simple and it still holds:

All of running training in three sentences

1) Run at least four times per week.
2) Once a week, run far enough that your legs complain a little.
3) Once a week, run fast enough that your lungs complain a little.

Chances are, you could learn something from that.

I started training on Nov. 11 (at 11:11 AM, which has significance for Armistice Day) and I've made significant progress in just a couple of weeks. I'm at that weird point where it seems like I'm not improving at all until I look at what I could do the previous week and then I start thinking about how quickly I could get back in shape if I kept improving at that rate (which we all know is impossible) and then I look at where I want to be and see how very far I have left to go and it gets a little disheartening.

Fortunately, then I remember something I found recently and the perspective shifts back to normal. My niece was on DailyMile for three days. The first day, she ran 7 minute miles, the next 7:15, the third 8:30, at which point she wrote, "I suck. I should quit." I had to laugh - it's genetic, apparently, both the speed (ladies, how many of you are running 7 minute miles?) and the bad attitude. Doing some calendar math, I think she found out she was pregnant within a week of her quitting running.

I looked at my running calendars from 2007 and 1982, my last good year and my first good year. I did no track workouts either year. In January 2007, in one run I ran 20 miles in 2:17 - perfect 3:00 marathon pace, which says I was in great shape. And an idiot, for turning a workout into a race. I did all of my runs at about 8:30 mile pace and had a 25-40 mile run each week, with one other half-way decent run and the rest of the week just 2-4 miles of recovery. In 1982, I didn't record what pace I ran unless it was unusual, but I think 6:45's were typical; I ramped mileage up for three weeks to 85 miles per week, then cut back and did a couple of faster runs each week for two weeks, then had a week of about 45 miles with a race, commonly 10K in 33 minutes.

No intervals. No hill workouts. No strides or sprints.




Carilyn said...

I like the 3 "rules". It definitely seems like the older I get, the simpler I have to keep it. I can't follow a "paced" workout to save my life. I just have to run how I feel, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and hope for the best :)

sea legs girl said...

Oh no! I located a homophone problem!! See if you can find it :o). Although I'm not even sure they're exactly homophones since they sound different to me...

Anonymous said...

Wow! Aye noticed to! Could it bee that I'm more anal then Steve?

John K.

Anonymous said...

I see 11:11 again :(

SteveQ said...

Made the correction. It's surprising I don't have more errors, since I never proofread.

Jean said...

Those three rules are great, Steve. I really like the simplicity of it. Good stuff!