I've settled into the mindnumbing pattern of eating, sleeping, and running. The life of an aspiring professional runner requires a person to be absolutely content with doing nothing in his life for the vast majority of each day and then expending enormous amounts of energy for about 2 hours. It's a never ending cycle.
It's been a couple weeks since I've last updated so to get whoever reads this caught up, here are the training highlights.
The last 5 weeks have been 103,108,99,100,99. I'm kind of glad I hit the 99 mi weeks because that is the ultimate show that you are not a slave to the mileage figures. Most distance runners, myself included in the past, can get caught up with mileage figures. It can actually kind of consume people. Part of the problem is that it is the one easily quantifiable thing that can sum up your training. When you ask another runner how his training is going, he almost always responds by telling you how many miles per week he's been running. The problem with this is that it tells you nothing. Just because you run 120mpw doesn't mean you are going to race fast. The key is in the details. Even the best of us get caught up in easily measurable variables. It happens in science too (think Vo2max or lactate in our sport).
Anyways, we are still building strength. Lots of hills, thresholds, and some hilly runs. My last threshold was a 2x4mi in which I averaged about 5:07 pace. It went well, especially considering it was windy where we were running it. My 800m splits would vary by 6 or so seconds with the same effort thanks to the wind.
Last week, my legs were feeling really flat until friday's session of hill sprints. It really is amazing how a short but fast session of just 6-8x10sec hill sprints can bring the legs around. It just shows how big of a role the neural work can play. In distance running, it is also neglected. Thankfully with the likes of Canova's influence and Brad Hudson's recent work, the importance of the Nervous system and peripheral muscular systems is getting a little more attention. One area that deserves some more research is how to get optimal muscle tone going into a competition. It's a big thing in sprinting, but once again neglected in distance running.
Besides the workouts, I had the hilliest run of my life on saturday. We literaly ran up a mountain. Coming from Texas, hills aren't my forte, but I stuck it out as best I could. It's an interesting feeling running lots of hills when you're in shape but not used to them. My breathing was practically normal, but my legs were burning. It's a great way to develop some general strength endurance though. I've never had the option of extremely hilly runs back home, so hopefully it's a new stimulus.
That's about it training wise for now. The first race is coming up pretty soon. I'm not sharp at all, but it should be a good experience and lots of fun. The race is on September 21st in Providence, RI. It's the US road 5k champs.
Good job to the HS kids. 3 for 3 in winning meets as a team, and ranked 2nd in the state. What a way to start the season!
Life besides running has been good. I watch way too many movies, so if anyone has any suggestions, go for it. We've also almost finished watching every episode of the office (we've been hitting about 4 a night, with one day where we were without internet and watched the entire season 2). Naps are another highlight of the day. Along with eating.
To keep my mind stimulated I'm reading a 400pg Physiology textbook that is specific to running. It helps keep my mind sharp.
Besides that, not much else goes on. Me and Jeff went to a pool party in LA, which was a nice change of pace. Jeff's friend from HS was a competitive swimmer training out here, so we got to meet some new people, escape the confines of our place for a couple hours and have a bit of fun. It was interesting hearing some of the swimmer's take on issues that we deal with in both sports. Drugs was a nice topic, but I appreciated hearing that they suffer from the same dread of sitting in a hotel room all day during meets. It takes skill to be able to master doing nothing and still being sane. We also met a swimmer who just barely missed going to the Olympics (4th at the trials). It was kind of sad to hear her take on the whole thing. Just makes you realize how much we all sacrifice and put into it for one shot every 4 years. At least at the end of the day though, you can look back and say you gave it a shot and tried to maximize your potential.
That leads me to a quote I saw the other day from former Olympian, a gymnast, Steve McCain:
“Gymnastics is like any Olympic sport. It’s once every four years, and you can train those four years and then go out on the first event and fall flat on your face. You can. It’s part of the game,” he said. “So you have to accept the rules of the game, and you have to be responsible. You have to be responsible for your successes and your failures, the teams you make and the teams you don’t make. You can’t make excuses for any of this.
“Ultimately, it would behoove you to appreciate that you had something that motivated you enough to find out what you were made of and inspired you to have these great moments. Take responsibility and be proud you had something that drove you to be exceptional, and as long as you have those two things, you can walk away from any competition with your head held high.”