Monday, August 10, 2009


Turning 40, running a “bad” 10K, having a 20 miler start out very sluggish, and just a general overall malaise lately have me asking – okay, re-asking - a lot of questions about my running lately.

Seriously, one minute I’m thinking I need to train harder, the next minute I’m thinking I need to cut back. One minute I’m thinking 85 mpw of easy running is what I need and the next I’m thinking 55 mpw with a couple of hard workouts would be better.

Maybe I should consider taking one day off per week, like I did with Pfitz for Gma’s. Maybe that’d be enough for a physical and mental break.

Or how about cross training on that day off? Maybe add in some biking – or better yet – some roller skiing. Is it time to set my sites on The Birkie? At least I’m still seeing improvement in that sport. Maybe if I started my training earlier, I could take a crack at sub-3 there.

Of course, spending the weekend in Madison had me thinking about Ironman Wisconsin.

It’s like just when I thought I was figuring this running thing out, the rules have changed. As much as I’d like to deny it, all those things you hear older runners talk about as they age appear to be true. I can’t just transition from one program to another without feeling some adverse affects. Running weeks on end – doing 2-3 hard days per week - without a day off are most likely in the past. I’d need to adjust and find what works for me – now!

Earlier I was thinking that with a little hard work, I’d have a shot at a PR (2:57)in the fall. Now I’m not so sure. To be honest, I’d be happy with one more sub-3 – and I’m not even sure that’s a possibility based on the times I’ve been running lately. Yes, I know all about recovering from Grandma’s, being in the middle of marathon training, the dog days of summer, etc., etc. So there’s no need to comment on that. Even with all that mixed in, my training paces leave me wondering if 6:52 for 26.2 miles is a pipe dream.

In any case, I have 9 weeks till race day.

I finished last week with 58 miles on 5 days. I couldn’t bring myself to get up before the family and run in the rain while in Madison. Hence the 2 days off. Yesterday I ran 8 miles with 8 x 8 second hill sprints. This morning I ran 10 miles, including 2 x 1.5 miles at 6:40 pace – or what I’m calling half marathon pace – with 2:00 easy in between.

Quote of the Day;

“Some people dream of success while others wake up and achieve it.” - unknown


Mike said...

I think somehow the answer lies in your last post, when you're feeling crappy a squat in the woods can do wonders!

Seriously, the last week+ on this blog is very interesting and the questions are ones we all face at some point. Thanks for sharing, good luck with the training, if nothing else your fall marathon conditions should be better than Grandmas, that should help.

Biscuitman said...

Hi Chad

Just found your blog recently and have enjoyed reading new and old posts.

I'm 42 and have used Pfitz for my 2 marathons inc 2.59 @ Boston this year. I take a day off week, generally after my long run. I think once you get yourself into a mindset that recovery is as important as training (as long as you do the training of course), its easier to mentally deal with having a day off and the benefits are considerable (especially as you get older).

Good luck.

Andrew said...

Healthy questions - which helps us all adjust our training to keep reaching. I know I've been thinking about lengthening my training horizon because I have issues with recovery now too.

Anonymous said...

Just amazed at all the numbers you are throwing around - splits, mile times, weekly distances. I know this will sound harsh, but this is a case of the numbers owning the runner, not the other way around.

I realize running enjoyment for you is weighted more toward time than effort - e.g, feeling down for running a slow (for you) 10k. If the clock had broke that day, I'm betting you would have been happy with your effort.

And since you have not been feeling all that great on your training runs, the last thing you should be considering is increasing your training. As you know, Noakes mentions this mistake in Lore - a runner has a bad race, and the first thing that comes to mind is "I need to train more". That might be the case if the runner had been under-trained, but you are very fit. Doing less right now will get you fresh and strong.

And the 40 thing is a myth, people start going down hill following their own time clock. For some it may be 37, others 53. Maybe yours actually did explode on the day you turned 40, but it also could be that you are training too much right now, and a little rest will get you back to where you were at 39.