So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Do I PR?

If you're a relatively new runner personal best times come in large portions of time. As time progresses & your new-found fitness starts to plateau to the level where you will stay (hopefully) unless injury strikes, those personal bests come at a higher price & in smaller increments; a second here & there. Doesn't make the later personal bests any less sweet.

Consistent, systematic training will help you to maintain fitness, combat boredom & burnout, & reduce the risk of injury. You probably can chant - whether or not you follow my advice - my thoughts about training by now:
- Develop a consistent pattern of workouts, which should include long runs of at least one hour once a week, speed work on the road or track once or twice a week, tempo running once a week, & easy runs during the remainder.
- Train all year, with an easy week per month & an easy month per year.
- Rest, as well as cross-training with an elliptical trainer, bicycle, swimming, or light weight training, is underrated.
- Listen to your body.
- Wear the right equipment.
- Learn to pace yourself without being dependent on the watch or the GPS.
But do you train like you want to race? Do you think about drafting, passing, tactics, running tangents, starting & finishing pace, & overall strategy for your goal event when you train? Who do you want to be near or ahead of at the end of the first mile, the second mile, & so on? What is your plan for the entire race; what will you do different on a hilly course than a flat course? What are you going to do if things go bad?

Every workout, every run you do must have a purpose. Every repeat you do on the track needs to be done at the right intensity. Your attitude, & how you perform your road runs & speed work directly correlate to how you will perform on race day.
For example: I ran the 6.2 mile beach loop on my easy night last night. We took the pace out hard(er) through the first mile, including guys I knew were going to run only 4.5. I warned my training partners about getting "happy feet," Coach Fox's old catch phrase for taking a pace out too quickly on an easy day. At each split I was checking my watch, doing the math & correlating with a GPS user; I knew if we backed off our pace the "flyers" would eventually come back to us within the next three miles.

How did I know? I was familiar with the others & their tendency to go hard the first one-third & hang on for dear life at the end. Guess what? It happened exactly the way I figured. Two of the four slowly came back to us with a mile to go; another was reeled in with half a mile left, & we ended up dropping one of them at that point. There was no panic, & no valiant efforts, just a patient, steady, smart (training!) run.You have to run with your brain as well as with your lungs, your heart & your legs.

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