February 4, 2016

A Real Running Update

My running philosophy hasn't changed much over the years.  I set some minor race-based training and performance goals, and I try to hit them.  I miss them, most of the time, but in the process, I get some mileage in and keep myself relatively healthy.

I rarely set running goals that require me to modify my life.  Even the more difficult commitments I make to running are almost always behind work in terms of priority, which means they often get destroyed when work is a monster.

While I love how easy it is to relate to my running friends, my running goals are very different than most of theirs.  I enjoy a PR or good race performance as much as the next person, but I'm unwilling to make most of the sacrifices required to make them a regular occurrence.

And I'm totally okay with that.

I think that's the thing I've noticed about my running philosophy that's different from most of my running friends -- I just don't really get too disappointed in my running.  If I need (or hell, just want) to skip a workout or dial it down, I do so and I enjoy myself.  If I need to drop out of a race, I rarely beat myself up.  I'm aware that I probably *could* be pushing out better running performances, but most of the time, I don't.  And that's just who I am as a runner these last several years -- not very performance focused.

The first quarter of this year, however, I've combined my running goals with some general health goals, and that has made them slightly more important and harder to blow off.

The end result is I'm slowly improving my speed, strength, and stamina each week, while very slowly decreasing my mass.

This week, Monday I rested as planned.  Tuesday, work killed my scheduled workout.  Wednesday, my plan was to run to track, do the track workout and run home, to get myself to a psuedo long-run as well as some speed.  But, I slept in.  I surprised myself by mapping out a long run and heading out for 8.21 miles at a super-easy slow pace of high 12s/mile (McMillan recommended long run pace), followed by 0.83 miles walking cool down. 

So far in 2016, I've done:
- interval speedwork once a week every week
-long runs of at least 6 miles (and up to 9.3) each week
-an average of 22.5 miles/week with 5-10% increased mileage each week (counting walking) but slowly replacing much of the walking with running
-a few tempo runs  (last week's Chrissy Field 5K was a 10:17/mile effort -- one of the slowest 5Ks I've ever done, but it felt good to string some medium-high effort miles together regardless of the pace)

Essentially, I've got 4 decent and obviously improving consecutive running weeks for the first time in a long time.  Yesterday's mid-week long run was the first time I've made an effort to put running in front of work during the work week since September.

I've got 10 days 'til the Kaiser Half, which is a tune-up race for the Oakland Running Festival Half 5 weeks after that.  My goal is to stick to the current level of commitment, weekly speedwork, a long run, and increasing mileage each week until the ORF taper.  I'm actually a little excited to see how things pan out. 

Wish me luck.


Angela Knotts said...

Yay! Good luck & see you at ORF (if not before)! :)

Biting Tongue said...

Thank you! And yes, looking forward to seeing you there (and hopefully before).

Jen said...

Good luck at Kaiser! I was just thinking last week at parkrun about our different approaches to running. I'm wondering how much of it has to do with your background in *actual* competitive sports, versus some of us who find running later in life as a means to test ourselves, etc.

I also don't think it's a coincidence that I started to set running goals AFTER I decided not to pursue my ambitions of becoming a tenure-track assistant professor at a top research university. Some people can "do it all" but I'm not one of them.

bt said...

@Jen -- that's a very fascinating insight about setting goals *after* deciding not to pursue goals in other areas. I think that's probably very true for me, too, although I've never thought about it that way.

Sometimes I do fantasize about really committing to getting fit and trying to get some new PRs out of myself, but these fantasies *always* involve me taking some time off work or severely modifying my work situation. The fantasy totally has 2 parts! I'd never put those 2 things together before...