Friday, July 14, 2006


I’ve been blogging about a year-and-a-half now and this morning I thought “Did I have similar thoughts prior to blogging or does blogging bring them out?” I don’t know but nearly all of today’s 8 mile run was spent thinking about this post. I didn’t plan that, it just sort of happened. This is meant to be a motivational post and it’s aimed as much at me, as you.

The great thing about running is the harder you work the better you get. The same can’t always be said for team sports where your teammates also play a role or sports like golf and swimming where technique is so important or even triathlons where you can simply buy speed.

For the most part, hammer away at running and you will run faster. If you’re unmotivated couch-potato with a poor work ethic, “competitive” running is probably not for you.

If you’re waiting for that quick-fix pill, recovery drink, or shoe that’s going to make you faster, you’re going to be waiting for a long time. Heck, even with EPO (I assume) you have to bust your ass. You can’t just sit around playing x-box and develop into an awesome runner.

There are lots of bloggers out there with goals; goals of qualifying for Boston, breaking 4 hours, being “average”, etc. Are they all busting their ass? I don’t know, but I’d venture a guess that whatever they’re doing, they could do more.

I told Susan she should take her highest mileage ever and add 50% to that and then build up to that number over the next 6 weeks. Sure it may sound absurd to go from 55 mpw to 80 mpw, but why not? Okay, how about 70 mpw? Don’t feel like going higher? How about building back to 55 but this time hold that mileage longer than before?

Maybe you only run 4 days a week. How about trying for 5 and then 6 and then 7…? What about throwing in a month of hills or finding a group of people to push the pace or following a plan that’s a little more difficult than you’d like…a little out of your comfort zone?

As the saying goes, “If you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do the things you’ve never done before.” Sure the “status quo” may work for awhile, especially if you’re new to running. But at some time you’re going to reach a plateau or a point of diminishing returns and you may need to shake up your program.

I’ve seen guys go from being unable to break 6:00-pace for 3200 meters in high school to running 2:28 (sub-5:40 pace) 10 years later. Don’t want to wait that long? I’ve seen guys run 30-minute 8K one year and 26 minutes the next. But these guys worked hard, very hard, to achieve those results.

Ever notice that when we tell kids to try something we say “It won’t hurt you” but when we tell adults to try something we say “It won’t kill you”? Hmm, should we assume then that it will hurt us?


Sure, doing the things listed above may lead to injury or they may lead to PRs across the board – or both. There’s only one way to find. If you do happen to get injured, it’s okay. The body does heal and we’re able to ratchet our training up again – faster than if we’d never been at those levels before.

I’ve posted this article by Beck (no, not the singer) numerous times, but it seems like I have some new readers, so I’m posting it again. It’s one of my favorites, especially the second half. He does a much better job of expressing these thoughts than me.

Quote of the day;
"The prevailing training philosophy in 1977 was 'more is better', and weekly mileage was the stuff of competition. If Derek Clayton was quoted as running 160 miles per week, then someone else would try 175 miles per week... This approach to training may sound harsh - and it was - but it reaped rewards. Distance running in the U.S. improved markedly, and although there were a few casualties along the way, pure hard work generally paid dividends." - Pete Pfitzinger


D said...

Thanks for posting that article. (Good post!)

Ryan said...

Nice post... not afraid to crack the whip! (in a good way, of course)...

I read this post right after I read the link you provided to Andrew's blog ("Are those miles calling me?"). I'm sensing a theme.

I think you're right, I could do more. I'm going to do 42 this week (after tomorrow's 15), and it hasn't been THAT hard. If I dropped pace and just covered distance, I could probably do 60 next week.

But the most I've ever done in a week is mid-40's, so elevating to Pfitz's 55MPW program seemed like the right next step. I need to figure out long term where I want to be with mileage load.

Mike said...

thanks for the post.

i'm still new to running and blogging but have enjoyed reading your posts.

i think you may have downplayed the roles of practice in team sports. Technique is important in more than golf. i think that learning how to run, not just running, was the most trying part of my first 4 months of running.

anyway sorry seem to have gone of on a tangent there....i'm a bit of a golfer too

i wanted to say thanks for putting your opinions out. i definately look to experienced runners for advise

thanks again

Chad said...

Thanks guys. Ryan I did think of you while writing this post. I believe your training is a lot different that what you were doing last year. So I'd say you've already accepted the challenge.

Mike, I agree I probably down played team sports. You can work hard and get better. Technique is not nearly as important in running as in golf. You don't spend time practicing every movement involved in running. You just run and it gradually becomes more natural.

Anyway, welcome to bloggerland. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, all of the extra training stuff aside, race performance equals total miles times speed per mile up to the limits of getting hurt or having your family run you off. Higher base weekly totals and long runs this summer keep up the good work all.

Anonymous said...

The only way the majority of the running population is going to get faster is by running a ton of aerobic miles. I can gaurantee you I don't want to run 20 miles real early tomorrow morning, but how else can you get ready for a marathon? Long, easy, fast, long, fast, amazingly easy and fast. How else can you get the job done?

SRR said...

Great post...and so inspirational. I'll keep trying...and doing my best at it, for what it's worth!

brent said...

good post, thanks.

MB said...

very true to the point-->hard work will reap benefits--issue with most of us is sacrificing the "time" expended to put in the training.

Chad said...

Susan, I've never had a weight problem and I can't even imagine running with 20 extra pounds. Luckily you have running to help you lose that weight. It is all about pure hard work, but you have to be motivated to do the work. That has to come from within. You can't buy it and you can't get it directly from reading other's blogs.

double, but "a ton of aerobic miles" is counter-intuitive to a lot of people. They think 'track = speed', but we know 'strength = speed'. Are you going to do Lakefront again?

Mark, you spend 11-12 hours a week training, so I assume you think that most people can do more than they're currently doing.

I never said there wasn't an opportunity cost of doing the training. I've always written my blog from the perpective of someone who's passionate about the sport and ranks running in their top-2 or 3 priorities, along with family and job.

massoman said...

because running isn't a team sport, one can't spread out the credit or the blame. your title says it perfectly.