Training Without a Goal Equals Random Length Runs and Mild Confusion
Sometimes we do things and then realize how silly we are, right? Such as running only once (maybe twice) a week while "training" for a 20 mile race... Apparently, (according to my most recent history of recorded runs in the months of February, March and April) I no longer feel that 20 miles is a huge challenge. I know if I stay hydrated and bring enough nutrition, I'll be fine. My legs will carry me over the distance. Sure, I'll be a little tired and sore for a couple of days, but that's true after any hard workout (including yoga). So, while watching each day of the week pass, the only real training I was doing was in the form of a long run on Saturdays, which is fortunately coordinated by a dear friend, and I love catching up with the girls on the weekend, so I make it a point to attend. During the week I got out once, maybe twice for two to six miles. My total weekly mileage may have reached (almost) 35 miles (only on one week of training - and that included a 19 mile Saturday run).
What happened to my drive? And the clarity I felt when preparing for my first 50k? At that point in time, my only concern was being able to accomplish that goal - to finish running 31.8 miles without injury. And I trained hard. I got out for every single run in my training plan. And now what? I had a race planned; a goal with a date printed in ink on my calendar, why was I unable to motivate myself to get running in a way that would have helped me complete this challenge more efficiently?
Maybe it was the distance. 20 miles is an odd number. I don't know if there exists a training plan for races between half marathon and marathon distance. (...This feels like a terrible excuse - cancel that). Whatever the case may be, I am changing my strategy. It's time to get races on the calendar, and to plan my workouts - because not only do I want to be better prepared and efficient during my next race, I want to be better at running. Stronger, maybe even faster.
Fortunately, despite my lack of training or strategy, The Peterson Ridge Rumble went well. The weather was great, and although the terrain was primarily dry, dusty, and rocky, I was able to get a few good shots:
Ultimately, I have learned that I need to plan ahead in order to meet any training goals. I was able to finish the race a bit faster than I expected, in 4:15 by my watch (4:20 by the website - I stopped for at least 5 minutes for picture-taking in the first half, and toward the end of the race, I just let the clock keep running. Ah the life of an iPhoneographer runner).
Tomorrow evening I intend to do some research, detail which races I will sign up for and run for the rest of the year, and create a running/workout schedule to follow.
Because - speed. And consistency. And all good things that putting energy and focus into something you love will do to improve your results.
Now, I would love to hear your "ah, hah" moment.
Have you ever realized you were not doing yourself any favors by cutting yourself slack while training? (0h, boy!) And what did you do once you came do that conclusion?
Do you have a favorite weekly workout schedule?
I am strongly considering running long on both Saturday and Sunday - I just love getting out for a while on my day off - it feels so good to spend time out enjoying my run without the rush of "I have to get to work" or "I need to get home and cook dinner" clouding my brain. What are your thoughts on doubling up on the weekend?
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend run! (I'm getting out tomorrow!)