11 November 2013

no rest for the wicked

by way of confession i will humbly admit that i am addicted to training.

not running ... training.

my pal trevor posted this on facebook just this past weekend:

a little over a week out from my second marathon in two months and i'm itching to get back on the horse.  i've told my friends that i still am trying to become that person who 'enjoys' running - really what draws me out to the roads time and again is a (un?)healthy fixation on claiming a PB or BQ time.

however, i'm trying to pan out my perspective a bit and look at my running career rather than just any given running season.  as i do so i'm paying more and more attention to the importance of taking time off, gaining weight, and losing some fitness - all as acceptable pieces of building myself into a stronger, faster and more durable runner.  

it's motivating to me that even the most elite of elite runners will take a number of weeks completely off from running after wrapping up their race seasons.  i also read a great article from greg mcmillan last week subtitled "The lost art of recovering between training cycles", and it in he includes a bar graph showing his training weeks around a marathon:

and i asked myself, "could i lie low like that?"  do i have that degree of courage/wisdom/focus?

the jury is still deliberating that one ...

in the meantime, i've taken up reading matt fitzgerald's book RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel on a recommendation from stan.  i'm only about a third of the way through it, but it's quite an engaging read so far.  it purports not to be a 'here's-your-to-the-letter-training-plan' kind of text but rather an exploration of some key factors that leverage each runner's unique ability to maximize potential - including how much fun you're having, gauging your own optimal mileage, and variations in stride mechanics (have you seen world marathon majors champion priscah jeptoo run?).

my hope is that perhaps as i reflect on fitzgerald's musings that i may find myself less of a slave to the training routine and more of a lover of the beautiful activity of running.  to do so i'll need to heed lewis' advice of ditching the garmin for a while (isn't it surgically attached to my wrist?) and try greg mcmillan's idea of cultivating an inner gps.

for now, my (best-laid) plan is to let november be november and settle in for some rest time.  as hard as that will be.

(he says as he completes this post just after a run)


  1. I know exactly how you feel. I've been raring to go running for a few days now but I haven't completely healed up yet. I tried running 1 km yesterday but it hurt too much. Instead, I am now concentrating on "fixing" myself by doing some light stretching and functional movement at home plus using the foam roller and a tennis ball a lot.

    I'm glad that you started reading Run...it's a pretty amazing book that I'm sure you'll read and re-read for years to come. Good luck in staying off your feet in November :) It'll be difficult but totally worth it.

    1. thanks for your comments stan - what's still hurting? where the blister is/was? or something else coming off of the road2hope?

      i'd seen fitzgerald's book on the shelves at chapters several times but (as i guess i tend to judge a book by its cover) didn't pick it up as it looked rather indistinct. but definitely enjoying so far - so thanks!

      and i just might need some kind of accountability partner to make sure that i don't run too early. i like what i'd read in one blogpost that some elites force themselves to wait until they're thoroughly bored before they give themselves permission to run again. :)

    2. The blister stopped hurting the day after...Abby aspirated it with a fine needle and drew up a lot of blood. The relief I felt was incredible after that.

      It's the entire lower body...left calf is still super tight (big big knot and possibly a minor strain) and I don't doubt that I've strained my hamstrings as well. It progressively gets better everyday so I'm not too worried. Just making sure that I remember to do my exercises and foam rolling daily.

  2. The elite runners need complete rest from running, no doubt, also runners who do a lot of interval training. The average runner, however, who mostly runs aerobically with only a few races in a year do not need complete off. I think that is a sure way to loose conditioning and getting injured when coming back to previous levels of training. By nature, we can easily handle a few hours of running every day of the week, especially if we sleep 8-10 hours a day and carry on with an otherwise sedentary life style. Listen to your body, it will notify you when or if to stop!

    1. thanks anna! i really do need to learn to listen to my body more. i've not tried to give myself an extended period (i.e. more than a week) away from running in the last three years, so i am interested to see what kind of difference it might make to my return to training in early january. that being said, i've already run twice since the hamilton marathon. :)