11 December 2013

pack mentality

off-season is a great time to make some changes ... or so i've heard. 

i'm trying to maintain a base until mid-january of about 50-60km per week, with a view to ramping up my next marathon training schedule to peak in and around 110-120km. in some conversation with my pal stan i've come to believe that i'm one of those runners who is better suited to more mileage in preparation for races.  i've managed to run injury-free for about 3-1/2 years now, topping out at about 3700km (projected) this calendar year.  hopefully the winter conditions in south-central ontario this season won't be too daunting as i press on through the holidays.

one of the things that i've started doing in the last few weeks is running with a group.  as a noted introvert, i've mostly enjoyed solo runs - and when i run with a partner it's usually been as a deliberate means of keeping my pace easy (often with mike) or up (often with trevor) - i've written about this already in a post earlier this spring.  but the barrie roadrunners are the local running club and their outings coincide with the running room's free training runs, so i thought that it would be a good opportunity to connect with others in the local running community and try to unlock the secret that the east african runners have known for a long time.    

it's only been a couple of runs with the group so far, but i've already got a few observations to share:
  1. it's providing me with the experience of running at a different time of the day.  normally i wake up around 5:30am to go out for my run (no matter the time of the year), but this group sets out at 6:30pm - so my biorhythms are completely different, my energy level is different, and i have to be a little more aware of how i'm fuelling throughout the day.  i can't say that i'll convert to nighttime running, but it's a welcome variation in the schedule.
  2. in-run conversations have offered some interesting personalities and running tips.  while i've already been identified as the 'chatty-cathy' new guy, it's been great how personable and generous the other runners have been with their stories and advice.  already i've met someone from my hometown who's migrated here to barrie, as well as a veteran ultramarathoner who has shared insights and training tips as i plan for my first trail ultra next summer.
  3. there's no way that i would be working this hard right now without them.  the last two runs have been tempo runs with the group, and while i probably fall smack dab in the middle of the bunch in terms of age, they're hoofing it at a really solid pace.  it's been a great way to maintain decent stride form during this off-season while reminding myself that i'm not losing too much of an edge from my racing speed.
are you a pack runner?  what recommendations do you have for me to help me get the most out of (and contribute the most back into) this running group?



  1. Forget about pack mentality for a second and make sure that you get what YOU want out of those group runs!!! Running with others can easily turn into THEIR run! Don't race, don't get into their pace, focus on how you feel on any given day and do what your body needs and wants to do!

    1. thanks anna! that's really solid advice ... the good thing is that on any given day (depending on how i feel) there are various groups/paces leaving from the same running room location so if i feel like i'm not up for a brisk tempo run i can meet some new folks and still get in the a decent workout. thanks to stan's recommendation of reading "run" by matt fitzgerald i'm learning to pay more attention to what my body is telling me about how to train most effectively!