Thursday, December 21, 2006

Daws was Right

Running is made in our minds. We runners know we must run. This is understood. No other reasons are needed, nor when others ask, "Why?" are we ever able to answer directly or satisfactorily. When you are full of running it is a craving, and the feeling can put you in pursuit of the most improbable of quests. Is is that exquisite feeling that no matter what, nothing can stop you. It is born out of purpose and grows into dedication. -Ron Daws, "Running Your Best"

I posted this quote a little more than a year ago. At that point I was six weeks away from my first marathon using Arthur Lydiard's training. It was the week of the Tucson half marathon, which would be one of my last tests of fitness before starting to taper for what ended up being my first sub-2:40 marathon. I had a fresh neuroma flaring up and I had resorted to stopping at a grocery store to stuff a few folded up cocktail napkins behind the affected metatarsals in order to run all of the planned miles rather than cutting things short due to pain. The quick-fix worked, and I followed it up by reversing an old metatarsal pad from the opposite foot, shaving it down and gluing it to my race shoe the day before the half marathon.

I was full of running then.

Daws has another quote about taking time off, though I can't find it right now (Evan probably has it memorized). He mentions how taking a day off a week leads to 52 days off a year. That's almost two months of training lost. He also has a quote about how if he takes one day off, it just makes it easier to take more days off in the future. I have to agree with the sentiment of the second statement after today.

After yesterday's pathetic effort in the morning I was apprehensive about doing a planned evening run with the Running Shop gang, but I couldn't skip out as we had a planned celebratory dinner afterwards in recognition of the Dragons winning the team competition at the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot a month earlier. We had $50 to spend on pizza and beer, and I simply could not pass that up.

The six mile run that preceded the dinner put a little more soreness into the legs, and by the end the body felt pretty much like it did a week ago. Not good. Still, dinner was fun and tomorrow was another day.

This morning the body just wanted to rest after two days of fairly modest doubles and three bad runs in a row. Truth be told, I've been feeling guilty about skipping the run all day. While I know it's absurd of me to question my commitment to running, I find myself critiquing the currently modest level of my training while I'm simultaneously struggling to recover from it. As I'm typing this a comment by Abadabajev just came in from my post yesterday. In part it reads "I went back and tallied your days off since your formidable marathon. Congratulation by the way. You are coming along. 3 days off so far. And how do you suppose your recovery schedule is forthcoming? When you truly believe in yourself, and in the philosophy of 'Running with Lydiard', you will not require to run for weeks after a major cycle." Perfect timing Abadabajev, you just might know more than I'm willing to admit.

So why the baggage about taking a day off? Like Daws says, I might not ever be able to answer this directly or satisfactorily.

Training: 0
Yesterday pm., 6.2 miles in 44:40


Andrew said...

My 'rule' is... bag a run and the next day is a rest day. It forces rest even when I don't want it, but it also limits me from just cutting a run short because the going is rough. Because if I do, I lose a lot of mileage for the week which is counter productive.

This way I don't run through multiple days of workouts that are compounding a problem (particularly super high fatigue).

But you're coming off a marathon, and that comment you quoted is true when you look at big picture. After a marathon, what's a month off? It's recovery and it will make you faster.

Your desire for continuing to race has, I admit, raised my eyebrows. But will it make you faster? If not, then why do it? To gather awards? Keep running fresh and fun?

Lots of reasons to do it, but I guess I expected another bout of base training to keep climbing.

I'm rooting for you, whatever you decide. But I'm partial to your marathon goals, and sometimes I have trouble seeing these races, even 'fitness test' races, as worth the disruption. Especially since I think the 2:30 goal is one that requires more miles and miles and miles and a little less specificity.

I could be completely wrong, and happy to be so. Not criticizing, just supporting and shouting out "2:30:00" into the fray of all these distractions.

Christine said...

I have to agree with Andrew. I've been reading for a long time, and this last marathon seems to be a subtle shift from enjoying the process, to looking for results now.

If I could offer any advice, take an extended break and start base training again.

Whatever you choose, be kind to yourself. I was disheartened to read the first quote in today's post. Sometimes 52 days off is not missed training. Rest is part of training too!

Good luck and hang in there.

Michael said...

I sympathize with your dilemma. Know that I’d find myself in the same boat, I think that is why my coach hasn’t given me a structured schedule since Sacramento. He knows that if it’s written there is a greater chance I’ll follow through, whether I should is a different matter.

Concerning recovery, I expect Daniels and Lydiard have a different perspective, but since working with Bruce (February of this year) he has me taking every Monday off.

While riding the coattails of a friend in the late 90s I was running workouts lead by Wynn Gmitroski (18 years of coaching athletics that have taken him to two Olympics, three World Championships, and two Commonwealth Games) and he has his athletes take every Friday off, Monday AND Friday during a recovery week!

That said, even though I wasn’t feeling 100% this evening I found myself tying up the shoes and heading out for yet another run, I’ll reassess things... tomorrow.

All the best during the holidays and good luck with the recovery!

Thomas said...

Damn, I hoped you knew why we have to go running every day. I'm in need for an explanation, because my mother-in-law is bound to ask that question again.

As for taking days off, there's a huge difference between taking one day off every week (which I no longer agree with), and taking some time off after a marathon (which I do agree with).

I took two weeks off after my last marathon, and I think I'm now running better for it. But I've also switched to running 7 days a week, and have not missed a single day since that 2-weeks recovery period. Again, I feel I'm running better for it.

Eric said...

I found this story on LetsRun the other day, and I loved it. Swap out the nagging injury part for a nagging inability to realize the value of rest after a very well run PR marathon, and I think it applies rather well.

Robert Johnson, the men’s distance coach at Cornell, spent four years in Washington during the tail end of the Enclave days training for the Olympic marathon trials and heard all the stories about a profane, unruly coach named “Centro.” One day Johnson was up at the American University track and saw what looked like a football coach unleashing football-coach-style histrionics on a group of runners. He dismissed Centrowitz as a buffoon.

Then one night Johnson, suffering from a nagging injury, went up to the track to limp through a run. Centrowitz happened to be there, and they jogged together for a couple laps. Centrowitz had seen Johnson around and knew that he was training for a marathon, so he asked what he was doing there so late. Johnson explained that he was hurt but was trying to get in some work. “You’re an idiot,” Centrowitz told Johnson. “You’re hurt and you’re trying to run 30 minutes? Either you’re hurt or you’re not, so get healthy. Don’t be so insecure.”

Not trying to be mean, just clear. Get rested and recovered, buddy.

Mike said...

A good follow up to Eric's story would be to repeat Fred Wilt's words to Buddy Edelen.

""Fred knew what he was up against and he tried regularly to get Buddy to understand himself well enough to change: "the compulsion to run and restlessness comes from mental inferiority complex"; "here comes the old insecurity again"; "you are just now to the point where you could go too far"; "I cannot kill your spirit but you are your own worst enemy. Why not be kind to Buddy Edelen? Why kill him now?" Fred's protests illustrate the sharp edge in Buddy Edelen. The same motivations that made Buddy a good runner could also destroy him."

I'm no Buddy Edelen, but the same holds true for regular Joes too. Andrew, while I certainly have unfinished business with the marathon, I still believe racing well at shorter distances this spring will serve the purpose of helping me for the longer races later on. It's a longer view this time, though your comment on more miles isn't lost on me.

Eric said...

Just a quick additional word to disagree with anyone who thinks you should focus on the marathon too strongly. Arthur and his athletes didn't train to train, they trained to race--over all distances. I think it's critical to race to your potential now to take advantage of the tremendous aerobic engine you have built.

There will be other marathons.

However, to fully leverage the ability you have now, you havetohavetohaveto recover fully first. Yeah, I know you got it the first time...I just thought hitting you over the head with it again, would be...okay, I'm just doing it for fun now. Later!

Mark said...

so much blather about not resting. . . you impressed me with your ability to bounce back off the SD RnR Marathon and I cautioned rest. This time around it sounds as if your body is calling to you for change. What gives? Rest can mean many things to different people. Sounds as if you are searching for yours.

Doesn't Arthur say listen to thy body? When does Lydiard suggest resumption to normal training?

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike, just thought I would chime in too. You pushed youself hard in your last marathon. To use an automotive analogy - you were running low on oil those last few miles and probably scorched your piston rings, lol.

It's time to get that F1 engine of yours running in tip top shape before racing again.

These things work in 3 week cycles. You'll feel better after 6 weeks than you do after 3.

Take care,

Mark in New England