07 October 2014

What're your plans?

I have had many people ask, "So, how do you train for that?" and the real answer is: I'm not. Let me qualify that statement.

If you are familiar with this.....well, you know.
Image: www.sport-fitness-advisor.com
No, that is not my training plan, although I have been there, boy, have I been there. I have been on strict 18-week training cycles for marathons, 10-week blistering summer heat training plans for cross country and have done targeting running for the smattering of road races of all distances in between. I've had pace per mile down to a science, track splits and repeat intervals memorized and the "planned marathon pace" runs carved into my cortex. The aim for each of these training plans was simple - race at capacity with a target finish time. That is not the goal of this endeavor.

The goal is to run in support of those working to get back on their feet (figuratively and literally), to return to that thing that brings me joy and enriches my life, to defeat the medical naysayers and to redefine my new "normal" in terms that make sense for me.

Image from: MaraMon2013
But, really, though, "How are you training for that?" If you look at the training calendar, you'll notice that I am running around 3-4 times a week, with cross-training thrown in for good measure on non-running days. My longest training run has been in the vicinity of 14 miles and I am on hiatus from the track workouts. While I give each race my full effort, I am not seeking to conquer the competition; by all rights, I shouldn't even be toeing the start line, so it's about that - making it from start to finish.

Image from: fb.com/Distant Runners
"Yes, but don't you want to go fast?" Fast is relative. A long-lost relative as it were, so it puts my training into perspective.  Most of my training runs, both long and short, have been in the range of 8:25-8:45, with a few averaging under and a few over. I will hop back onto some interval training following the Croatan 24-hour Race in November, as three of the last five races are 13.1, 25K, and 13.1, respectively. Nonetheless, I train based on how I my body feels (not just my legs), understanding that I will need to run on tired legs at times and preparing to up my mileage and begin adding back-to-back long (15-miles+) runs in as January rolls around. When I was recovering, it was an enormous victory to walk to the end of my block and back; that I can run at all is my reward, speed is just a number and a mile is still a mile, no matter how quickly I cover the distance.

I have training partners, a club I run with and some milestones I am achieving in every race. I love running - the exhilaration, the fatigue, the lactic acid, the sweat and the pain. Most of all, I love that I have the opportunity to lace up and get out there.  In essence, that's my training plan.

Image: www.runnersworld.com






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