Friday, October 14, 2005

Running vs. Training

Somewhere around week 8 of my Lydiard conditioning phase I found "the love" for running. Sure, it helped that I was finally getting 100 mile weeks under my belt, and that my times were coming down, but this was something else. I really started looking forward to each session, the ritual that preceeds it each morning, and the way I feel when I finish and walk back into the house to see the family. Somewhere along the line "training" had become just "running" and "workout" became "going for a run".

Today it was back to just plain-old "training". Recently the kids have been getting up way too early (4:30-5:30 for 4-month-old Finn, and 5:30 or so for 3-year-old daughter Haiden), and my wife has been taking the brunt of it since I'm usually out on my run. We've started a new system where on my shorter (1.5 hrs or less) days I get up with the kids and get them going, and she sleeps until 7 or so. It gets much harder for me to leave the house once they're up, especially Haiden, since we enjoy reading, playing, or doing breakfast stuff together. Once you start interracting, it's hard to peel off and say, "See ya, I'll be back in 90 minutes!". Today it was especially hard, since Haiden really wanted to come with me. Usually I would relent and bring her out in the jog-stroller for 6 or so, then drop her back at the house and finish my run without her. This hill phase complicates things though, since I can barely drag my own butt up the hills. She just can't come on these runs, and today it broke her heart. She was crying when I left, and of course I felt horrible for leaving (even though my wife was going to take both the kids out for her jog in the double-stroller momentarily). I thought about the balancing act with family required to really train with a goal in mind (a January marathon for me), and how it's impossible to get it just right.

The wind was brutal today, which didn't help. As I started up the first hill repeat, I was getting bashed on the head by whipping mesquite tree branches, and since I was running later more cars were whipping by on their way to their million dollar homes above me. My calves were aching a bit, and I seemed to be going in slow-motion (which I guess is the point in steep-hill running but this was ridiculous!). All the while I was thinking about leaving behind my sobbing daughter, and right there the "run" became "training" again. A means to an end instead of the wonderful escape the sport usually provides me. I plodded on, 4 times up and down plus some strides at the base as rush hour ensued just across the road's shoulder.

I did the work, and came back to find my daughter covered with jam from her toast, sitting at her miniature ladybug table. "You want some special running drink?", she said. I sat down and had some waffles (she ate most of them), then things were back to normal. Hopefully I'll get back to "running" tomorrow.

Training: 10 miles, 1:29:15, 8:55 pace, 4 hill circuits plus strides


brian said...

That's the thing about kids. Even if they get upset, give them a few minutes and they've forgotten about it and it's like it never happened. My wife and I have an almost 2 year old and a 2 month old and that's exactly what happens.

Thomas Sørensen said...


I just discovered your blog.
And it is just what I need. I am also a Lydiard fan, but I am not at a level where I can implement his plan 100%. But I am now in the beginning of the conditioning phase for a late may marahton. I have a previous Marathon PR of 3:43 in a horribly executed race. My may goal could be 3:15

Mike said...

Thanks for checking out my blog, we are definitely in the same boat. My experience with the "terrible two's" is that they really start closer to three, your results may vary. Scheduling runs around doc appointments, and the worries about development and the like for your infant definitely takes a toll.

Apparently she cried for 30 minutes this time though, which was a new record (sigh).

Thomas, looks like you are definitely making good progress, best of luck to you.

Mark said...

Great post. The biggest challenge that I have is balancing family with running. It helps to have a supportive wife.