TITLE: Low Defenses, Low Mileage AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: January 26, 2007 5:13 PM DESC: ----- BODY: 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 turkey. 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. -----