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.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Slow Ride...Take It Easy

The conditions we've endured this summer (thanks to a wicked El Niño) have made training very entertaining. Coaches - if they believe there is one present - are often accustomed to looking for the location & quantity of the silver lining within the dark cloud of the athlete. It could be a short-term body habitus change or a change in a fitness level...sometimes both issues at the same time, if the coach works with a female athlete. In those sorts of situations the best thing anyone can hear is the need for patience, & the true hope that given enough time things will get better.
Of course, it's hard when the coach is the person in question losing confidence in their fitness. There are coaches who are self-coached, but sometimes everyone needs an ear to bend when the days are a little less than sunny. When it comes to swimming I have a couple of good friends/coaches I can turn to. As for running...I'm more likely to talk to my wife; she seems to have a good perspective on what I'm doing wrong since she hears me provide advice and counsel to others. I don't always like to hear what she has to say, but she's more likely going to initiate a plan of action to fix my problem.
So, rather than beat myself needlessly over the conditions & the fitness I decided to adapt my training plan. I figured, rather than try to accelerate a marathon training plan by two or three weeks in order to run a local marathon I had not registered for yet, I'd spin the dial all of the way back to base-building...something I could have done from mid-April until early June rather than taking so much time off. So yesterday I got on the treadmill and ran six miles at ten-minute per mile pace...very slow for me. It felt quite good when I finished but the real lessons of running slowly hit home at five o'clock this morning.
First, if your shoes are old, beat-up or beyond their best days, running slowly will make you realize the fact. And the fact? What else? It's time to spend money on another pair.

Second, & this is more of an opinion than anything, you find out how efficiently - or inefficiently - you run, form-wise. Shortening your stride, which works well on the roadways, isn't so effective on a treadmill. So there is such a thing as a too-slow pace on a treadmill. I learned yesterday I was probably a solid minute-per-mile too probably the last minute of the run. One minute of the "right" dead-slow (easy) pace certainly does NOT make up for the previous 59 where you were at the wrong pace.
The nice thing is, out of the whole learn. And I got some very easy miles out of the process. Really it was nice to run for an hour without sweat flying all over, the ability to really enjoy the music and look out the window at folks coming into and leaving from the gym.

Now comes the adjustments...the way my back felt this morning it might involve a chiropractor.

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