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, June 7, 2011

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing

The aches and pains have again returned, twelve weeks into my quest to become a "runner" once again.

Our bodies can clearly communicate the message we've done more damage to ourselves than eight hours of prophylactic sleep is going to repair. Some days, it takes a couple hundred milligrams of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories to do the trick. And on the worst days, perhaps even a bike ride rather than a run.

Like I've mentioned in past posts, when something like the little aches and pains return, it's wise to look back and see where the plan has been not followed. In this particular case it seems to have come over the last two weeks, when I increased my run times from 46 minutes to 50, and from 50 minutes to 55, following that "ten percent" rule of thumb.

However, I was doing it all wrong. I wasn't following my own counsel, and planned as though I was stronger than I truly was. I wrote in the past about the ten-percent increase at three week intervals, but figured I could do it at one-week intervals.

It's the sort of hubris which can turn a person, if they are not careful, into a former runner. John L. Parker, Jr. writes eloquently in his second work of fiction, "Again To Carthage," about the process of slowing down. In one chapter, two former Olympians, coach and athlete, talk about the marathon after a twenty-mile run, and the coach directly mentions one particular race he considered the probable cause for his relative debility.

How frightening is it to be able to look at a training log and say: 'right there?' I spend more time crawling within the recesses of my own head than probably the average bear. To borrow partly from an old public service advertising campaign, "a mind is a terrible thing..." Slowing down any more than I have in the past year doesn't frighten me. Stopping altogether does.

It's the reason I tell my own athletes to err on the side of caution.

It's the reason most good training plans are exactly that, plans. If they were supposed to be rigid, without adaptation, and guaranteed to succeed we probably would have called them training itineraries.

It's the reason rest, recovery and rehabilitation are underrated.

And, it's probably the reason the best cure for a bad day is another day. And another. And another.

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