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

Friday, August 30, 2013

6 weeks and 6 years

I just finished my sixth week of steady, continuous training. I haven't been able to say that for a very long time. Being able to run at all is a gift, but I don't run if I'm not training for something. The challenge has been to find something to train for - what can I still do, that I enjoy, that I want to do? Time off has let me remember what I tell others: what you do best, do most often and enjoy most is usually the same thing; for me, that's hilly 8-10K races. Ultramarathons are interesting - as a puzzle to solve - but I don't enjoy running 100 milers (and I don't enjoy them for a LOOONG time). 1500-5000m are probably my "best" distances, but they don't seem worth the trouble, somehow. I have a few races I still enjoy doing, small challenging (and relatively cheap) races, and that's what I should aim for... next year.

I'm waiting for the plateau. There's always rapid improvement early in training (well, sometimes there's a lag first) and then a leveling off, where I have to decide how to tweak the training. For now, I'm improving, though the improvements are not coming where I expect; the things I've always done well are troublesome, the sprints are hampered by a sore hamstring, the long intervals are made tough by breathing issues, the all-out short intervals just fall apart, but my average training pace has dropped by 90 seconds per mile.

I was wondering how fast I ran hill repeats back when I was last in shape (2007) and pulled out my training calendar for that year. I'm almost as fast now! The difference was that then I did more intervals with less recovery and it didn't feel as hard. The surprise was in the notes I'd made in the margins - "sore rt ham,""stiffness in rt. glute," etc. - I had the same issues then as now! The injuries I thought had come on recently have been around for the better part of a decade, but I'd ignored them because I could get away with ignoring them.

I hope I've learned something.


Anonymous said...

Do we get more frail as we age, slowing our recovery, or do we get smarter, demanding more time for recovery? I fear the answer is yes.

Congrats on a good stretch of running. Keep it up!

John K.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Tell us about the photo.

John K.

SteveQ said...

Header photo is me and my team (North St. Paul Polars) at 1979 MN State Cross-Country Champs [U of M Golf Course]