Saturday, July 19, 2014

Running Rut?

Even after six days away from running my nascent return to training, the results were still the same. I had followed the same process I had in the past: determine how far I wanted to run, map out the distance on USATF Map It!, put the mile in at a predetermined level of effort, and track the average split. While not very complex, I have never been one to get too complicated with the process, but with my recent return to jogging, running, plodding, whatever, I have found myself trapped in a four mile holding pattern. Many years ago, when I was planning and training with a race in mind as a target, I was much more successful with varying days, miles and paces. (Fortunately I still have the old hard copy training logs from many years ago, outlining my 5k though ultra plans.)

This morning's course.
In anticipation of this morning's excursion, I did some thinking around how to break through this rut and committed to a run based on a cumulative target time rather than a predetermined distance. While reviewing some other recent plans, most notably the "13.1 Plan: For You and a Fast Friend!" from the August 14 Runner's World, I noticed continued movement toward plans that have both distance and time targets, as well as an approach that honors the traditional "long run Sunday" of which I am most familiar, followed by recovery on Monday. (Yes, I am familiar with the value of speed workouts, fartleks and the like, but as a purely recreational runner, even after many years, I have never fully embraced the idea for my own purposes which are to stay fit and have fun.)

So, this morning I set out with the intent of putting in "60 minutes easy," as suggested in the previously mentioned Runner's World plan (picking up at Week 3 of the 12 week plan). Following through with this would represent two shifts: first, the cumulative time would be about 20 minutes greater than my most recent runs, and secondly, I would need to continue working on an easy(ier) pace to allow for continuing through the run in its entirety.

So, how did it go?

Pretty okay. I felt really good immediately afterwards (which is to be expected): I went the entire 60 minutes without stopping at what a felt was a reasonable--if too fast--pace (a little more than 9 minutes per mile) and recovered my breathing rather quickly following the e run's completion. Using time did permit me a slightly longer walk immediately following which was nice. If there was a physical point of concern it was in my legs (specifically tightness in left thigh and right knee), as they grew tired in all likelihood due to the length of the run. Overall, I felt very positive about the results.

So will this slight change in tact help pull me from my rut? Certainly, after one day it is difficult to judge, but minimally the attempt has moved me toward following a structured plan and given me some confidence and hope of eventual improvement... so I'll take it!

No comments: