Monday, August 7, 2017

SJRNRHM Week 6 of 14: Drama-Free Training

I'm sure you've all seen this meme floating around:

Now I am under no illusions that I'm one of the truly fast kids, but I generally finish in the top 5-20% when I race and have podiumed my share of small local races here & there, & that sometimes seems to give some people the idea that I feel like the lady in the top picture when I'm running.

I find this hilarious. Like. I've been long-distance running since the mid-90s and I can count on maybe two hands all the times when I've felt like the lady in the top picture. On a good day I feel a lot like the kid in the bottom pic; on the tougher days, I feel maybe a little more like this:

And you know what? I'm really 100% fine with that. Not feeling fresh and peppy every day is the reality of cumulative fatigue and actually training hard enough, in terms of quality and/or volume, to improve. Honestly, if I started to feel like the lady in the top picture too often, I'd assume I wasn't training enough & needed to step it up.

I definitely went through a phase (around the time I started doing races more frequently and actually making an effort to get faster, ca. 2008-2011ish) of feeling like the lady in the top photo is what it should feel like, at least once you're in decent shape. The running blog world of that time did not help matters, with all its #blessed this and #humbled that and post-workout pictures featuring peppy smiles and perfect makeup and nary a hair out of place.

Seriously, I could not figure it out. People seemed absolutely brimming with joy and bursting at the seams with #gratitude after every [flawlessly instagrammed] run. This was before it was trendy to #keepitreal, and I remember wondering as I perused the internet if I was doing this training thing wrong somehow because where were all the posts about "Eh, today was a run" or "8 easy miles, fine" or even "Ugh, tired today, really wanted a nap instead."

As it turns out, those make for less heart-able Instagram posts.

At this point I feel pretty comfortable in my own running skin. I know I don't look like a lady in a Nike ad, even on my best days, and I don't expect to feel like one either. My bar for what counts as a "good" run is a lot lower. (Did it get done? Am I not injured? #winning) I've embraced my slow, comfy 10-10:30 easy pace, even though most of the time it feels more like a shuffle than really running (because guess what, results, bitches). These days, for the most part, the thick of training for a goal race feels neither fantastic or awful. It just kind

I was reading on some coach's blog or newsletter recently (though I can't find it now) about how that's how he knows an athlete's training is going well. Their training log notes aren't filled with breathless raves about how magical a run felt or how #blessed they, nor with angsty rants about how terrible it was; for the most part it's just full of miles and ticked-off workouts and quick notes about how most runs were just kind of fine.

He referred to this steady, unremarkable, sometimes boring ticking off of workouts as drama-free training, which I immediately wanted emblazoned on a T-shirt, because yes! More of that! I don't need scads of effortless tempos that feel like I'm flying or spiritually fulfilling, life-changing runs that I can plaster all over Instagram. All I need is the work, mostly slow and steady, plugging away, unceremoniously depositing workouts into the First Bank of Training, one mile at a time. I don't need to feel like the Nike ad. I just need to get it done.

* * * Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half: Week 6 of 14 * * *

Grand Total: 47 miles + 2 hours strength work.

    * 26.25 easy
    * 3.5 speed
    * 3.75 threshold
    * 13.5 long

Monday 7/31: Strength work.

    Squatting 95 lbs for reps so far. I think at this point it's safe to go triple digits.

Tuesday 8/1: 2 warm up, 1600m @ LT pace / 1:30 jog, 2 x 800m @ 10K pace / 2:00 jog, 1600m @ LT pace, 2 cool down 10 easy.

    I was pretty sore from the squats so I put speed off until Wednesday.

Wednesday 8/2: afternoon 2 warm up, 1600m @ LT pace / 1:30 jog, 2 x 800m @ 10K pace / 2:00 jog, 1600m @ LT pace, 2 cool down = 7.5 total / p.m. karate

    I must say, Kezar Stadium has been an absolute pleasure lately.

    Running in how many lanes? Allllll the lanes.

    (Also lololol at how half marathon track workouts feel so puny and insignificant after months of marathon track workouts. 7.5 miles? Pshhh. Not even double digits.)

Thursday 8/3: 8 easy.

Friday 8/4: a.m. strength work/ p.m. 2 warm up, 30:00 @ MP + 0:20-30 seconds per mile, 2.25 cool down = 8 threshold.

    Guys, I went up to 110 lbs. for deadlifts and it is kind of serious.

    In other news, this threshold workout reminded me a lot of the feel of racing: "Oh geez, this is kind of hard. Is this mile over yet? Ehhh....not that hard... Can I do this for xx miles? Probably. Maybe? Oof, I'll be glad when this is over. Just one more mile, and one more mile, and one more mile..." Not the end-of-race red-line panic or last-mile-about-to-barf feeling, but just kind of the middle where it's hard and it's work but you're pretty sure you can just keep on chuggin' (for a while, anyway).

Saturday 8/5: Rest.

    By which I mean: tile shopping. So, so much tile shopping. Though we also had a lovely beach bonfire with friends. :)

    #sanfrancisco #summer

Sunday 8/6: 13.5 long (at 6:00am, thankyouverymuch)

    TBH I'm pretty proud of making this run happen. We had a friend's birthday party to go to that afternoon and a not-insignificant drive there and back, so I knew my only chance was to set my alarm on a weekend (shudder).

    First-thing-in-the-morning runs can be incredibly rough for me, but luckily my alarm woke me from the rare running dream where I am not having some sort of crisis or my feet feel like lead. Yes! Let's do this! I told myself as I leapt out of bed and got dressed. Which was a bit of a cruel joke on the part of both my mind and body as this run was just an absolute slog-fest from the first mile (which I blame on the fact that this was my highest mileage week so far in 2017.)

    You know what else it was, though? Effing DONE, drama-free and all.

    I probably won't ever get tired of running by this place & snapping the same gorgeous pictures over and over again.

    Also waterfalls.

Probably a bit of a cut-back this next week before starting another three-week block of building, hopefully getting up into the 50s.


  1. +1 to the drama free aspect. Social media can be really helpful with some areas of running (hello, meeting local runners in real life!), but I think there are many more ways that it just corrodes what should be a fairly straightforward process and in turn, compels people to alter their process unnecessarily. Surely I, too, have posted pics online about how great a run or workout was, but like you said, when you're in the thick of training, by and large, most of your runs are going to be satisfactory, not all-out life-altering. I'm with ya 100%. Good job this week. #blessedtotileshop

    1. Aw, thanks. :)
      (Also I am going to adopt #blessedtotileshop as my mantra until we get through this insanity & perhaps I will start to believe it!)

  2. Can I heart this post? <3 I also want that shirt. This sounds like a pretty good week of training!

    I'm sticking to my training process and paces; it's a little silly to get all overwrought about a miserable run, or post that every run is FLYING!. Of course, okay runs don't get social media likes. I agree with Erin that social media, by enabling comparison, can be corrosive and damaging.

    For me, the joy-theft of comparison comes from time-suck. Long runs take 3 or 4 hours and the midweek recovery ones are like 1-1.5 hours and for someone else, the same training might take half as long. The other day, though, I had a revelation. I looked at my log and all of the actual running, all 42 miles of it? Only took 7.5 hours. Of *course* I have 7.5 hours to spare in the week!

  3. Yeah, it's the drama running that's the problem! I do have my fair share of dreadful runs, but for the most part, it's just generally enjoyable running.