"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau
Endurance, in the mind of a runner, is usually defined in terms of distance or time. How far can you run? How long can you run? And, in the words of one of my favorite musicians, the hope is you may run long. Thank you, Neil.
For the rest of the world it's pretty much the ability to suck it up and drive on; that seemingly endless move from one living space to another. Less enjoyable than even the worst long run, in my humble opinion. And, worse yet, often more social than we would care to admit.
A friend will help you move.
A good friend will help you move the body.
A parent will help you choose the body to be moved.
Suzanne and I managed to coincide our visit to Virginia Beach to run the Rock n' Roll Half Marathon with the weekend our son and his wife were to move from a 3,000 square foot house to an apartment of about one-half the size. Thankfully, they divested themselves of a butt-ton of stuff before we came to help, er, visit. When it was all said and done - more done than said, frankly - I was reminded that we fritter our training life with too may details.
Especially when I saw many of my fellow participants the next day. A distance event produced by an organization who obviously are not participating in their first rodeo, like CGI, have most of the hydration, transportation and other (capitalistic) factors figured out. Water bottle holsters and music players at these events: Needless fritter in light of thousands of fellow supplicants, a dozen bands and cheer squads of varying qualities, and plenty of aid stations, regardless of the recommendations of pseudo-scientific beverage-funded research groups and the American College of Sports Medicine.
But, back to the simple thing. I knew from the outset of my training this summer the chances I would NOT be prepared for a strong half-marathon were strong. Inflame an iliotibial band and strain a hamstring, and those chances become a near-certainty.
Face it; 5K fit is not half-marathon fit. Never has been. Anyone who thinks otherwise is most likely going to endure a good hour or two of discomfort on the course and a day or two of discomfort on the job.
Smarter coaches have pontificated on the deep specifics of what it takes to get ready for a race. To me, it all boils down to four workouts. I'm going to talk specifically to the five kilometer distance for purposes of simplicity.
Long run - six-to-eight miles. Run at a pace where you can hold a conversation. Once a week.
Tempo run - three-to-five miles, run at a pace which is "comfortably hard." Once a week.
Race pace work - one-to-five minutes of fairly hard work with complete recovery in between. When I say complete recovery, I mean where the runner can say "I can repeat this piece again." And do it. No more than three miles a week.
Easy runs - four-to-six miles, run at a pace where you can talk in single sentences, at the least. Rest of the week.
Naturally, as the time progresses from the beginning of the training year to the last six weeks. the runner can adjust the long/tempo run distance. Listen to your body and keep things simple; it's likely you're going to have a good day more often than not.