Friday, February 02, 2007


Well, I think Bart and Richard asked the $64,000 questions yesterday;

Bart: “How do you interpret running 39 seconds faster than last year? Do you feel you're in better shape this year and ready for a great racing season, or do you feel the tempo runs have you closer to your peak earlier in the season?”
Yes, I feel I’m more fit than last year and that I’m ready for a great racing season. One of my initial thoughts after the race was, “Let’s not fuck this [the 2007 racing season] up now.”

I’ve been willing to give up some mileage this winter, if it means making it past April healthy. For those new to my blog, I was running record mileage last year and racing very well in the spring. I got injured in early April and missed Grandma’s Marathon.

One thing I’ve seen a lot lately is that there’s a difference between “running” and “training.” I know during the winter I get into a rut of training. I’ll go months with a lot of miles, but zero quality. By quality, I’m talking about tempo/steady state/strong aerobic – whatever you want to call them – runs. I get into this comfort zone where all my miles are done at 8:30-9:00 pace, which is MP + 2:00. Granted there’s weather and clothing to deal with, but that’s still relatively “slow.”

This year I actually felt stronger during the last 5K of the half marathon than I did last year, when I was running more miles. Mike’s been talking about muscle fiber recruitment lately and maybe that’s what happened; while I wasn’t running as many miles, I was recruiting different muscle fibers by doing harder runs once a week.

No, I don’t think tempo runs have me closer to my peak. It’s February 2nd, I had better not be close to my peak yet!!!
Richard: “Do you think from year to year 39 seconds can be chalked up to training, luck, attitude or perhaps just mentally being in the right place at the right time?”
I don’t know if people think 39 seconds is a big deal or not – heck it’s only 3 seconds per mile. That’s why I think it helps to have some non-time goals. When I take into account the weather, how strong I felt the last 2-3 miles, negative splitting, etc., I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.

I’m trying to decide if my consistency (1:24:55 in 2002, 1:24:27 in 2005, 1:24:45 in 2006 and 1:24:06 in 2007) is a good thing or bad thing. I guess it’s good that I haven’t slowed down from age 32 to age 37, but I haven’t had a “breakthrough” either.

I’m reminded of a comment I made to the first group of older guys I interviewed. I said something to the affect that, “It sucks to train your ass off and only run 40 seconds faster than the previous year’s time.” One of them said, “Wait till you train your ass off and are HAPPY to run 40 seconds SLOWER than the previous year’s time.” I guess that puts it in perspective.

Quote of the day;

“Unless you perceive yourself as someone who is going to be a good runner, you’re never going to be one.” – Gary Elliott and Allison Roe, Every Runner’s Companion

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