Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bart Yasso Advice: The Long Run

I was reading Runner's World Magazine this morning, and I learned something new.

On your long run, which is the cornerstone of any marathon training regimen, run one minute slower than your target marathon-day race pace.

If you're looking for a specific pace for your long runs, aim for between 30 to 90 seconds slower per mile than the pace you expect to run in the marathon, but even slower is fine.

So if you plan to run 7 min/mile on race day, you should be hitting your long runs at 8 min/mile.

You don't want to be racing your long-runs, or else you'll be dead before hitting the pavement race day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Comparing Ourselves to Others: Long Run it Out

I came across this post by Kristin Armstrong in Mile Markers, and I loved her little lesson:

Think (hard) and get real honest about the comparisons you make [about yourself with respect to others]. Put them in your journal if you are feeling shy. Or talk about them on your long run this weekend, if you are feeling bold. The more aware we are of our tendency to compare, the more adept we will become at recognizing it, and eventually Stop. Doing. That.
Comparison is a thief. Let's stop handing the sneaky little b**** our house key, alarm code and the combination to our safe.
That's why you should never miss your Long Run.  Good old LSD will keep you not just sane, but happy.  You can think through your thoughts--or you can agonize over the burn in your lungs and quads because maybe you've been a little lazier than you would've like on your runs during the week.

Either way, you're working through something.

And that way, at the end of the run, you'll understand not just more about yourself, but more about who you should be:

no one else.

Monday, July 23, 2012

9.8 miles: Running for the Love and the Test

Here's a beautiful line about running that absolutely melted my heart, and my legs:

Their strides opened up, their lungs gasped for air, and their legs burned. They were finding their limits and exceeding them with every step. They were testing themselves and discovering they were up to the challenge. They were running with free souls.

Because that's what running is all about.  Running free.  Disconnected from the artificial world man has created to dominate and placate Nature--and consequently, himself.

But we are free.  When we run, it's a space apart from our day.  It's the extra.  The part of ourselves we can't show to anyone else.

Our freedom:
I set out to find out how much pain I could endure, how much I was willing to give. Like the others around me, I wanted to know what would happen if I let go of all the constraints I normally place on myself. I wanted to know-no, I needed to know-if I could push past my own demons.

And so I ran the fastest mile of my life. World-record pace? Hardly. It wasn't even very fast for my age-group. But it was fast for me. It proved to me that I have the spirit, if not the body, of a champion. 

That's what we all discovered on that track. We discovered the truth in Pre's admonition to accept only our very best. We discovered that our best sometimes resides deep inside of ourselves, in remote parts of our souls. 

And we discovered that it is only by releasing ourselves from our self-imposed limits that we can finally see the power and beauty of the runner inside each of us. 
"The miracle isn't that I finished . . . The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day #12: 7 Miles and Heat

7 miles and a long night. I'm getting smaller, and it's weird. Someone said something about champions needing only to do two things: workout when they wanted to and working out when they didn't want to.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day #11: 5 mi AM, 4 mi, PM

AM:  5 miles

PM:  4 miles

Total: 9 miles, baby.

Back.  In. 

Day #10: Back After Two Weeks of Zilch, Back In

6.55 miles.  Slow, heavy, hot, hard,--felt like I just started running again my Freshman year in high school.

That's what I get for doing nothing for 13 days.  No running.  No exercise.

I'm angry I got lazy.  Well, not lazy.  Maybe discouraged. 

But I'm back. Baby.

And I love running.  Unequivocally.

Back in.

Race-wise, I can still qualify for the Boston Marathon.  It's not really an issue, as long as I stay on course from now and on.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day #9: 5AM Run and a Thunderstorm

Woke up at 4:40 a.m. after a dream snuck up behind me.

Got up, tacked on my shoes, "Train Hard."

At the last mile and a half, thunder and lightning embraced the atmosphere with a belligerent jubilee.  Or maybe it was lightning coughing up a lung over my head.

The streak of blaze seared into the powdered and weeping blue.  Just as moments in our lives transmute themselves into electrical currents between our synapses, seared into our memories as errant thoughts.

Men's Health: The Biology of Running
In persistence hunting, the trick is to trot almost nonstop in the heat of the midday sun, pushing the animal along so that it never has time to recover in the shade of an acacia tree. The Kalahari hunters have figured out how to play one critical advantage in a deadly game that pitches their survival against that of animals: Humans have an evaporative cooling system, in the form of sweat; antelope don't. When conditions are right, a man can run even the fastest antelope on earth to death by overheating.
Then it started to rain.  5 miles.  I walked back, each droplet lightly sprinkling its coolness over a steaming surface.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day #7: 5 miles Kayaking and 5 miles Running

Mileage: 5 kayaking, 5 running

Kayaking is a lot more difficult than I thought.

 Lesson #1: 

When you and a buddy are kayaking, the two of you need to communicate and coordinate paddling to turn in any direction, stop, or reverse.   Or else you and the kayak end up face first in the swampy bushes and tree branches.

I learned that the hard way.  Haha.  But it was great, because we finished strong.  Even though we were completely exhausted, hungry and therefore grumpy.

Team members have to coordinate their movement toward a single goal.  Moving forward safely and quickly.  But, each member has to recognize that while he may want to be the star of the show and lead, he may serve a more useful purpose following the lead.  But that just makes the entire team succeed.  And in turn, he'll succeed.

But coordination requires communication.  Without Kwesi, my teammate, yelling out what direction we needed to go, I couldn't've oriented the kayak appropriately.  And I had to tell him when I was tiring out and he'd have to either compensate for my weakness or reduce his overall paddling strength so that our paddling cadence was in unison with the same amount of force, preventing his paddling to overtake mine.

Lesson #2:

When you're exhausted and so is your partner, it's easy to give up and just let your partner do all the work.  But that just leads to your partner resenting you and feeling used and cheapened.  At that point, you'll both stop.  And then what?  You're stuck!

If you're tired, chances are so is your partner/teammate.  Keep going!  Because you're both in it together.

Because when it comes down to it, the day you're tired and incapable of moving forward, wouldn't it be nice to have a helping hand to make life a little easier when you're just about done?

Yeah, I thought so.