TITLE: Low Defenses, Low Mileage
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: January 26, 2007 5:13 PM
I haven't written about running in a while because I have
not been able to run much for a while. On January 5, I
came down with something that has kept me under the weather
for three weeks. Fatigue has been the most onerous symptom.
In that time until last Friday, I managed only four runs of
7 or 8 miles each. Every run seemed to provoke a small relapse
or extension of the symptoms. I have taken the last week off
in an effort to get back to 100%. That was my first full week
off from running in at least three years. Even after my
Sunday marathons, I have jogged by the next Thursday. It's
hard to realize how much a habit is ingrained until I go cold
Finally this week I seem to be improving, and so this morning
I ventured over to the track for a few miles. I should probably
have taken it easy and jogged an easy 3 miles or so. But I
planned to do at least 5, maybe 6, and in the end I ran 7.
I did take it easy, though, at least for five of the miles,
and ran a pace suitable for LSD (long slow distance). I'm a
little sore, but it's the
good kind of pain.
So far, I'm just a bit tired and am hopeful that I'm still
on the road to full health.
This break comes at an interesting time. Like
Tiger Woods has done
with his golf swing, I've been thinking about taking a small
step backwards on the prospect of taking my training a leap
forward. Throughout the winter, I've played with the idea
of starting over with a new weekly plan. Rather than do my
usual five or six days, with two mid-distance runs (one a speed
workout) and a Sunday long run each week, I would pick some
relatively small distance -- say 4 or 5 miles -- and run it
every day for a couple of weeks. My idea is that I could
develop a daily training schedule that doesn't tire me out
but that does maintain a steady condition. One side effect is
that I would lose my long-distance stamina. Then I could build
the week back up slowly, starting with a couple of 7 or 8 milers.
Add some speed here, some distance there, and I would be back up
to the sort of mileage I'd like to run each week, 40-45 miles,
but with rebuilt stamina and speed. The goal would be let my
body relearn the distance and speed skills.
To do this right, I should probably consider a longer interim,
say a couple of months, in which I do know running but instead
cross train on a bike, in a pool, or on a tennis court. But
I don't have Tiger-like patience just yet!
As it is, by recent standards I have now run very little since
Christmas time, so maybe I'm rested enough to try something new
to good effect. Trying to get over this cold-like virus is
motivation to keep the mileage low for a while, and my eagerness
to get back on the road is motivation to run every day.
The other complication right now is one that many folks can
understand: snow. We received 10" of snow in a week a couple
of weeks ago. This is, of course, hardly worth mentioning
after what our friends in Denver, Oklahoma, Portland, and the
like have faced recently. But the effect is the same. Running
trails are covered. Roads are artificially narrow, and slippery
in places. Sidewalks are only occasionally passable. The
challenge is to find routes that I can run reliably and safely.
It seems that each winter creates its own set of best running
routes. Then there are the temperatures. But you know what
I've said before,
you know you're a runner if....
I will find a way.
Good running to you all. I look forward to getting back into
a rhythm and seeing what running teaches me about programming,
software development, and teaching this year.