The Joy of Group Running
This past Wednesday I ran a few miles before the group run in Broken Arrow. I passed these 4 kids selling lemonade with profits going to a children’s cancer charity. I told them to be ready because I was going to bring back a LOT of customers. As we warmed up I told my group I had a little surprise for them along the route and off we went. The excitement the kids had in seeing all of us arrive was matched by the fun the runners had in having a ‘lemonade moment’ on a very hot summer’s eve. This is why group running is so awesome!
The Open Ocean
A typical marathon training season is between 16-20 weeks. Mine is 19, so I am right smack dab in the middle of it about now. These middle weeks are when you have left the port and can no longer see it over the stern and you also can not yet see the port you are headed towards over the bow. You are on the open sea, at the mercy of the elements but without the ease of turning back or the excitement of knowing the next port of call is there on the horizon. It can be a time of creeping doubt, not sure whether you are headed in the right direction, even if the instruments say you are. I feel like I am best at avoiding falling prey to this problem when I stop looking at the horizon and look down at the water right in front of me. The other element that can have you worried is the state of your boat. It might be taking on more water than you want, or a sail might be ripped in a storm.
Aches and Pains
Ok, enough with the analogy, Marty. What that really means is I just need to do each run as it comes. I know what my pacing and distances should be, I know what sort of tempo, hill or progression runs I should be doing, and I know when I should rest. If I stick with that plan, then the future should take care of itself. it also means, while I need to pay attention to various aches and pains, I don’t have to freak out about them and say the world is ending. It’s not. When you run marathon training miles you are going to have all sorts of random aches and pains. Some last for one run, some come the next day. Some last for a week then disappear, others seem to hang on forever. I have that happening in my elbow right now (did a wonky push up or 20 a few weeks ago) I have it in my side as well (did a wonky sit up or 20). They bug me a little bit, but they are annoyances, not injuries that are going to stop me. I am doing my best to take care of them (no push ups or sit ups lately) but overall I expect them to take a while to disappear, after all I am pretty old and at my age these things take a lot more time to heal than when I was 30 years younger. Of course, 30 years ago I was a lazy bum who never exercised so I didn’t have these issues to compare anyway!
Last week was even hotter than the week before, with 3 days over 100º. Luckily only one of those days coincided with an afternoon/evening run, which we cut down in distance and pace so all would be safe. That is the thing about having such a long season, any specific planned run can be changed if circumstances warrant and you aren’t going to damage your training. You have plenty of time to either make up the workout if you really feel like it, or just skip it. The only real problem will come if skipping that one workout leads to skipping more. That can sometimes turn into an avalanche that ends with you saying ‘I am too far behind, I am going to quit the season.’
Now, there are times when one has to do that. Life does happen and that can sometimes means weeks on end of family obligations, or an injury that puts you out for months. In that case you do need to reconsider and adapt, maybe to a new distance or maybe to a new race farther in the future. But most of the time that is not what is happening. Most of the time all you need to do is get back on your plan, even if you missed a few workouts, and all will be fine.
As I mentioned last week I am trying to get in some morning runs. This is so I can get my miles in without having to do them all in the brutal heat of the afternoons in Oklahoma. I ran one last week of about 4 miles (ok, EXACTLY 4 miles) and it felt really good, with the sun barely up and the air much cooler, even if it still was quite humid. I was able to get 32 miles in last week with a long run of 10 miles. My average pace for the week (approx. 9:45 per mile) has slowed a bit, due to heat and longer mileage. That is ok because I need to work on endurance and that means slower pace. Next week I hope to do a few more morning runs and get in a few miles before whatever run I am scheduled to coach.
That’s it for now. Let me know if you have any questions or insights. Oh, and our 15k fall program starts the 3rd week of August. If you are interested, let me know!
See you running,