[Originally posted May 8, 2014]
Running sometimes feels like sweeping the kitchen floor. You finish getting the whole room clean, just in time or dirty it up in preparation for the meal. After which, out comes the broom again. Needless to say with running, the work is never done. After running your PR at a race, you feel all the satisfaction of discovering new territory that your legs and lungs have never been to before and the euphoria will continue throughout the cool down and post-race stretching. But inevitably, by about halfway through the ride home you begin to think about how you can go even faster. “I could definitely shave off a few seconds in that middle mile,” thought floats through your head. Even athletes breaking world records or winning gold medals, will soon turn their minds to the next feat ahead.
I caught myself thinking about this during my recent training segment. Often I feel as if the times when I am at “racing fitness” are only for brief periods of one or two races, maybe a handful of weeks and the rest of the time I’m slogging to get back to that level. I guess that’s what happens once you start focusing on the longer races of the half or full marathon. You are really peaking for only one or maybe two races. This means that those brief moments of racing satisfaction are even briefer for a marathoner. It can be quite frustrating to put in training for months at a time and have to wait to see the benefits.
But at the same time marathon training forces you to really focus on the process. You need to fall in love with the training. Since you can’t race much, you better find satisfaction somewhere else. Learning to savor long tempos and triple digit mileage weeks even while you’re suffering through them is paramount to making through a training segment with your sanity. Hopefully learning to place focus on non-race goals can help to keep you going during the doldrums of a long training segment.
While I think I have come to enjoy some workouts more during post collegiate training, I’m not ready to say I don’t need the validation of a great race at the end of a long segment. I do. I want it, and I don’t think I could train with knowing that a PR should lie at the end of a training segment. But I hope that if and when I hit that PR I can spend a little more time savoring the victory rather than setting my sights on the next goal.
I’m focusing the training on getting ready for the Dam to Dam half marathon in Des Moines at the end of May.
12 mile tempo at Forest Park 64:31, averaging 5:23s. Big help having Kwin K and John T for the first half of the workout. This was the biggest confidence builder of the segment. Three weeks earlier I didn’t feel like I could go half the distance at this pace.
3x3k+2k: In all fairness this loop is not 3k, but the distance doesn’t need to be exact. We run this workout starting at the bottom of Arthill looping around the post-dispatch lake and back to Arthill before running up one side and across the top of the hill and finishing up top. It between a 8 and 9 minute rep depending on pace. We have a mile mark where we pass a trash can which gives you a feeling of the pace. Ran with John T for the first three reps hitting 8:27/8:17/8:15 (the mile splits were 5:00/4:55/4:54) with 2:30 rest. The final rep stops before the hill so encourages going fast finished with a 4:51 mile.