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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Daylight Savings?

Daylight Saving Time.  Wow, what a misnomer.  Well, it pretty much signals the beginning of the "extra" season; extra snacks, extra beers, extra parties.  I've written about the stretch between Hallowe'en and New Years' Day in the past in terms of social life and in terms of weight control.

So I'm not going to go there.

In most parts of the country the first race/s of the year probably won't happen until the middle of spring.  In the southern-most portions, though, we have a flipped-coin season.  Nobody in their right mind produces a running event between June and September.  At least, not one that's going to make a major profit.  We can train almost every weekend of the year down here, with very little in the way of alibi or excuse for not getting in that run.  Our attire doesn't change all that much, either, with the exception for perhaps a couple of weeks where gloves, caps and tights are a good idea.

Those who live in the cooler climes would laugh at our choice, but that's what occurs when your blood thins out.

But darned if folks don't decide to put their running shoes up for nine weeks, or at least replace them with the party shoes.  I can see the logic and reason of taking a few days to a week off every six months or so, just to give your mind and body a little rest.  Rest as in "other activities which are fun," or "long walks at the places where the shoppers aren't..."  Just as starters.  Taking a week isn't going to kill whatever fitness you built up over the summer; hiatuses which go longer than a week are the ones which will bite you in the fanny.

It always drives me up the wall to talk to friends who treat fitness as a zero-sum activity.  If they can't do it full-bore then to heck with it, they aren't going to do it at all.  Really, the only reason to take more than a week away from a consistent workout schedule is - naturally - an injury.  Some of the things I've considered and done to try and be an athlete and a socially-inept citizen with varying success are below:

Keep the Training Impact - If you track the time spent working out and the intensity level of the work you have the elements to measure your training impact.  For those who haven't read any of Eric Bannister's 2004 research, time in minutes multiplied by heart rate or perceived effort provides a score which can estimate how long it will take to recover from a workout or how much work you're doing each day.  So, if you average an impact of 120 points a day (say, 60 minutes at a 70-percent or a seven-of-ten effort level), you could cut off twenty minutes and work at 80 percent/"eight."  Or...

Split the Time - Daylight Savings only means that daylight is going to be GONE in the afternoon. The post-work run is going to be just as much keeping live batteries in your headlamp and dodging drivers as it is putting one foot in front of the other.  Might as well consider breaking up the workouts into two pieces; they don't have to be equal parts but it can give you two chances to get something in.

Something, Something - Dark, gloomy running during this time quickly becomes a near-solitary effort; why is it I'm the only one devoted to this thing!?  This is where the higher-intensity speed-focused workouts suddenly become more fun.  Keep those long aerobic pieces for the weekend when you have the time to adjust the start and get out for longer.  But there's nothing wrong with working on that speed and keeping that speed up over the dreary days.  The great Zatopek even said that there was a need for great runners to be fast and have endurance.  He did lots of short, intense pieces; a 200 here and a 200 there, next thing you know you've got a mile in.  Or two.  Or three.  Turn the classic "endurance first, speed second" train of thought upside down.

You might find with these three concepts, especially the third, that you're not alone during that last week or two before New Years' Day.

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