Friday, March 30, 2007

Running by Feel

As far as daily paces go, Patrick made what sounded to me like a good suggestion in the comments yesterday. "I totally agree of going with the flow when you're feeling good. It's the best way to learn to read your body, something that's invaluable in races. Just don't be afraid to let the pace lag on days you don't feel your best. That's my big weakness. I have this threshold that I don't like to let the pace drop past, even on easy days (usually 7:00 miles). But I've seen some Kenyan training logs that show they'll start out a lot of easy days at 9:00/mile pace and some days they'll go 6 miles in 45 min for their a.m. run. It's all about recovery."

I like reading Patrick's blog, especially for the way it brings me back down to earth when I feel like I'm putting in serious training. I'll post about a good run, then head over to his blog and read something like this: "Is there something wrong with me if I think 28M is slacking for a long run? Somehow I've gotten it in my head that if I don't run more than 3 hours or 30 miles it doesn't qualify as a long run. Upon reflection I have to ask myself, 'What?' I suppose somewhere along the line as I've been training for the ultra distance races I lost some perspective." While you're shaking your head at this, keep in mind that he's writing this after finishing a 28 miler, the day after winning an 8K. Wish him luck at the 100K championships against the likes of Greg Crowther, who is also a good fellow to root for. Duncan did a nice interview with Greg not too long ago that I took some inspiration from.

Anyway, back to the point. What Patrick says about the futility of trying to outrun your own recovery needs rings true for me, as I've done it before and set myself back for a few days (or a few weeks if you count what I did after the marathon). Eric is one runner who seems to get this, and he spares no opportunity to tell me how I don't. I think this run is a perfect example of taking recovery when you need it. Yes Eric, I'm linking to the only run you've done that's been at a slower pace than mine over the past six months. Abadabajev, a frequent commenter here mentioned a little while back that Arthur Lydiard said something to the tune of "You cannot run too slowly". I think Arthur was talking about recovery here. I take from his books and lectures that he would be the first person to tell a runner to slow down and ignore the workout (or prescribed pace) if the body wasn't prepared to absorb the correct stimulus that the run was supposed to offer.

So what's a runner to do when things seem to be going well? My pal Jason has some opinions about it. "...I think what I am getting at is merely the fact that everyone is different. If I have learned anything from running the past eight years, it is 'listen to your body'. Most of my PR's have come off of running mileage and spontaneous threshold runs (based off feel of course). Therefore, how I feel on a day to day basis guides what pace I will run--easy, moderate, or hard."

Today I headed out with at least 10 miles in mind. Last evening I was able to squeeze in a second run of four easy miles while pushing Haiden and Finn in the jog-stroller, but as they keep growing it's getting more and more difficult to classify any run while pushing them as "easy". The legs were a little tired, probably in part due to the different posture required to push the stroller, so again I just ran by feel and ignored the watch. After three miles or so the body seemed to be cooperating so I just kept easing down the pace, though not nearly as much as yesterday. It ended up being a nice run, with only a bit of fatigue during the last mile. The final mile of most of my runs is on an uphill grade, which might explain why I'm often grumping about it.

Training: 12 miles, 1:17:57, 6:30 pace
Yesterday pm., 4 miles, 30:10, 7:33 pace

1 comment:

Abadabajev said...

Yesterday pm., 4 miles, 30:10, 7:33 pace

Y-E-S
Y-E-S
Y-E-S

I'm going to have a little glass of red wine, relax, and watch a little soccer.