Thursday, October 26, 2006


In my Chicago race report I said I’d have more on this statement later; “I think my personality allows me to run (fairly) even splits, but it also keeps me from laying it on the line and going out in 1:27 and seeing what happens.” Well, it’s later.

Even before the marathon I was contemplating how much one’s personality plays in their development as a runner. It’s seems like a lot of the top local runners are also have successful careers. I wonder if these people have more of a Type-A personality where they seek perfection in everything they do, not just running.

My personality is conservative and I tend to be more of a “That’s pretty good” type of guy. Combining these traits tends to lead to a lot of compromises in training. If I’m shooting for 80 miles in a week and fall a little short, I can usually justify it with something like “My knees have been a little sore lately.” If I’m shooting for 6:10 mile repeats and I run 6:15, I’ll say something like “My legs are tired” or “I wore my heavy shoes.”

There’s always some rational explanation. It’s probably a rational explanation that these Type-A personalities wouldn’t make. They’d get in their 80 miles and run their 6:10s no matter what.

While the affects of these decisions on one week or one workout are probably fairly minor in the short-term, I’m sure they add up in the long-term. If you askd me to put a time difference over the course of a marathon, I’d have no idea. But I can’t help but think stuff like; “What if I ran my mile repeats a little faster in practice? What if I actually ran my goal marathon pace in workouts, instead of running 20 seconds too slow and “blaming” it on the fact that it was 5:30 AM or dark or windy?” Would these things have changed the outcome of the race?

Maybe my conservative approach is what makes me as fast as I am, maybe it’s what holds me back from being faster. As with everything else, there’s only one way to find out. Whatever racing I decide to do next spring, I think I’m going to have to throw caution to the wind and become a little more Type-A with my training. I know it’s incredibly hard to change one’s make-up, but I think I need to try.

Quote of the day;

“Who I am is no mystery. There is no need to tap my phone or open my mail. No necessity to submit me to psychoanalysis. No call to investigate my credit rating. Nothing to be gained by invading my privacy. There is, in fact, no privacy to invade. Because like all human beings I have no privacy. Who I am is visible for all to see.” – George Sheehan


Anonymous said...

Interesting contrast between yesterday's statement that you weren't unhappy about losing 10 minutes to someone who beat you by 30 seconds over 20k despite being injured, and today's discussion of not being hard enough on yourself.

Now I forget quite how much and what you did to stay fit while you were off, but IIRC you biked a lot and were off for nearly two months. Biking is great and does maintain sub-maximal running fitness. That's why you were able to ramp up pretty quickly once you resumed in summer. But biking is not a specific enough replacement for maintaining your race fitness for a long time. The research is pretty clear that if you aqua-run you'll lose very little race fitness. Perhaps elliptical trainers might have similar benefits, but there's not enough research on them.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that you may have lost more high-end aerobic fitness than you were aware of, and that even the three months back running before Chicago was not enough to totally get back what you'd lost.

I think you did really well given how long you were off for injury. Just my 2c ...

Anonymous said...

Correction in the first sentence: "were unhappy," not "weren't unhappy"

getwell said...

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" is what Teddy Roosevelt said. No need to try for a Type-A personality; that's a person most may admire but few would want to be around.

From your previous posts, it simply sounds like you've raced the way you planned it. Quite commendable, I'd say. And like you said, "the worst possibly shape to be in for a marathon is one that leaves you just out of reach for some significant time goal." Well then, touché. Just up your plan for a faster run for next season as you've always accomplished and then race at that pace. Easier said than done, I know, but IMHO that's already who you are, which seems to be working just dandy for you.

In another perspective, sounds like someone's fishing for a compliment :-). Care for a hug? 000

Chad said...

Evan, I'm not sure I see the contrast. I think both post go hand-in-hand. In one I was upset about running slower than where I should be and in the other I was talking about changes I need to make in order to close that gap.

As for my injury, I wouldn't say I was off for nearly 2 months. I had 2 months (May & June) that were sub-par. I basically took 2 weeks off and was averaging 30-35 mpw the other 6 weeks. I still had 3 solid months of training prior to Chicago. While I agree it wasn't enough to get back all I lost, I had also adjusted my goal because of that.

Getwell, I had a goal of 2:55, I was on 2:57 pace and I ran 2:59. Yes, I'm "fishing for a compliment" for barely being able to reach my last goal of breaking 3 hours.

As for, "Just up your plan for a faster run for next season as you've always accomplished and then race at that pace." I'm not really sure what this means and I wouldn't say I've "always accomplished" this. I didn't accomplish it this year.

Anyway, I think "upping my plan" is what I was trying to get at with this post - trying to be a little more aggressive in hitting the splits I need to run my goal time.