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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Miles, Not Minutes

Ah, Tuesday morning. The bane of my running existance. Thank goodness I've got a wife who knows how to motivate me.

There are lots of changes going on in my life, most of which I'll talk about tomorrow, but the big thing is that for the next four weeks, we will be a Paleo Diet household. What does that mean? Well, there's more about it tomorrow, but for today, it means that my wife was going to cook me breakfast.

If, she said, I actually get up and run when I'm supposed to. Much like my dog, I'm highly food-motivated, so when the alarm went off this morning, I was ready to go. I snoozed a couple times, but still managed to get out the door by 6:30, for which I'm quite proud of myself.

Tuesday runs haven't gotten any easier since the beginning of my training. They still follow the super-long and then the super-fast runs. My legs are pretty tired, as is the rest of me. Monday takes a lot of wind out of my sails, particularly if I didn't get up for an early 5K. Fortunately, this Tuesday had the feeling of a new week, and of a new start to my training.

After the disappointment of Sunday's run and the surprise elation of yesterdays, I have middled out with regard to my training goals somewhat. Specifically, I'm going by my new theory of Miles, Not Minutes.

I know very well that I'm not going to qualify for Boston this time around. The Austin Marathon (for me) is about making sure that I can still even do this long of a race. Yes, I did one before without training, but I was an awful lot younger back then. While I'm still in pretty good shape, I have nowhere near the resiliency that I had when I started college, and I need to recognize that when doing my training. Last week, I ran a lot of miles very, very quickly, and as a result, I somewhat burned myself out, leading to the poor performance on Sunday.

Therefore, I'm going to change a few things up on my weekly schedule. For one thing, I'm changing my Thursday run from a treadmill speed workout to an outdoor pace run, and really focus on running the same time for each mile. Not only is this going to force me to keep my own pace more accurately, but it will also get me out on the roads for another day, as all the knee issues that I've been having seem to happen because I'm not acclimated to the cold and the terrain. An additional treadmill run won't prepare me for any of that.

I'm going to keep the mileage the same, and I'm still going to have my Monday 5K, mostly because I enjoy it, and I still want to have some strength training.

From now on, I'll focus more on making the miles than on making certain times. If my legs start to ache, then I've got to slow down and keep going. I'll still keep track of my times, but I'm not going to judge success or failure of a run solely on how fast it was. Completion is the goal of my training, just like it will be the goal of the race itself.

This new theory came to me today about mile 4, when my legs started to bother me. When this happened on Sunday, I stopped and walked a bit, and then I started back up, only to find that restarting hurt more than just continuing. Today, I held my pace. I just kept moving forward, and you know what? It worked. Within half a mile, the pain in my knee had receded, and I was able to complete the run right at my desired race pace.

Six days a week now, my focus will be on finishing and finishing only. It takes a lot of the pressure off my shoulders - pressure that I, myself, invented - and hopefully will make this thing even more fun.

But Mondays are still built for speed. Gotta jump start the week somehow.

Today's Run:
45 Degrees / Clear
7.56 Miles
1 Hours, 0 Minutes, 29 Seconds

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