The commitment it takes to perform

I was at a party yesterday and talking to a runner. Since I’m getting back from an injury my mileage is much lower right now and I’m able to … well actually go out like normal people. With Team Rogue I usually try to get into bed by 10 so I can be up by 4:30 on most weekdays and 5:30 on weekends to get my runs in. I was talking with this other runner and asked him how he’s doing and he said he hasn’t been able to put in the miles or commit what he needs to excel. Training for any marathon takes significant time and it does result in changing daily habits, diet, schedule. Trying to push your body as hard as you can really does take significant commitment, which we all hope will pay off.

All that talk and then the conversation in the car coming home where the phrase “are you running from yourself” came out made me do a little thinking. Here’s a little reflection on what I set out to do this season and a revisit to the question “Why I run versus why I train?“.

The things I’ve tried to do this season include:

  • Eating better and around 2500 to 3000 calories a day. Which means snacking at work all day long and having a drawer full of food.
  • Strength training at the gym so my body is more capable of handling the increased mileage (from 60 to 80 per week) and faster paces.
  • Regularly stretching, using Trigger Point daily and getting regular massages to keep the body loose
  • Trying to peak at 90 miles per week and keeping my average weekly mileage around 80.
  • Dropping my training paces.

Everybody focuses on something or another each season. The above 3 are the things I was trying to differently and have had varying success. Here are the grades I’d give myself today:

  • Eating Better A-
    Ask anybody at work, I either have an apple, pair, oreo’s, animal crackers, fig bars or yogurt with me pretty much all day. The “minus” is for the quality of what I’ve been eating.
  • Strength Training C+
    I’m doing much better than any other training season but haven’t been regular about it, I got complacent and with 90 miles a week it became difficult to have the time to make it to the gym all the time. I did manage to see Mark at South Congress Athletic Club and have a program but still need to follow through with twice a week visits to the gym to perform the exercises.
  • Stretching etc A-
    I’ve been very about using Trigger Point but realized recently that I needed to work more than the calf and lower leg area that I’ve been focusing on. My quads and hamstrings have tightened and this has restricted my stride in some cases and been a factor in some injuries. Minor adjustment needed now.
  • Increasing mileage and pace B
    This one is a tough grade. I looked at my log for CIM and noticed that I got up-to 70 miles over a pretty long period since I wasn’t really running before May. After I peaked I suffered an injury and then my mileage was in the 55 to 60 range till CIM. After CIM I took a week off and then my weekly mileage went something like this: 22, 58, 70, 70, 82, 90, 50 … injury. I look at all of this with two perspective. The first is what the hell was I thinking, I pretty much ran more than I ever have and really just built up too fast. I was also running a lot faster on my runs, in the 7:20 minutes/mile range on easy runs and getting in the 6 minute/mile range on some parts of it. So doing all of this in one go, faster, farther, longer wasn’t a good idea and my body just wasn’t ready for it. But the reason I’m giving myself a B and not a D is that this really has to be the first time I’ve thrown caution to the wind which is something I’ve been working on with training so I’m glad I’ve done that, adjusting down will be much easier!

Looking at the time that remains for Boston training I plan to bring my mileage goals down a little. If I can manage 70 to 75 starting a week from now I will be very happy. I also think I’m going to adjust my paces from the 2:50 marathon target to a 2:53 to try and break 2:55 at Boston. I feel like my lungs and aerobic capacity is ahead of my body’s physical ability to handle the increased load. So it’s a little lower on the mileage and a tad slower on the paces and a renewed focus on strength training at the gym and some cross training. Next season I’ll try and increase my total load/effort a little more gradually to try and avoid injury.

Now of course comes the million dollar question of why put myself through all of this. I wrote an answer to “Why I run versus why I train?” last year as did many others on the team. It really does come to seeing what I can push my body to do and also the sense of internal accomplishment in achieving some goal.

As I think about it those are pretty superficial statements.  Why do I want to see how far I can push my body and what I can accomplish? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know, that’s just how I’m wired. So for now as long as I get satisfaction out of it I’m not going to worry about the deeper reason and physco mumbo jumbo reasoning behind it. What I know is I look forward to waking up, putting shoes on, meeting up with the crew and running easy, hard, or insanely hard and getting side stitches from laughing along the way.

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