The most difficult part of training for me isn’t the workout itself.
No, what I have to battle is avoiding the tendency to try to do something every day. I’ve been frequently guilty over the years of thinking that taking a day or two off will break my momentum and constitute a failure.
Another thing I’ll need to adjust is my tendency to feel like I need to push at 100 percent effort for every workout. I think overall that’s an admirable quality, but there are certain days in which all you can do is ‘move the chains.’ (Sports cliché alert!)
Today was one of those days as, under the direction of my running mentor Gar, I turned in a six-mile outdoor run at an ‘easy’ pace. For me, that’s about an eight-minute mile or even a little slower, as it turned out.
‘Active rest’ is a concept with which I’m pretty familiar, although as noted I probably haven’t done a lot of it in my fitness struggles. Not that I’ve ever really suffered a serious injury in my life — knock on wood — but I’ve certainly burned myself out physically and even mentally by just grinding for multiple days at a time.
A positive aspect of this new intensified training is that I literally can‘t push much harder than ‘slow’ on my off days! So in effect, running faster is saving me from myself.
Beyond the obvious benefits of rest, there’s evidence that — for any distance — building up the aerobic system is paramount to performance. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, getting more efficient in converting oxygen into energy is important to any runner, even ones who are trying to push the limits of explosiveness like I currently am.
Yes, I have to develop my high-end speed, but a one-mile run also requires a level of endurance. Not as much as a 5K or a half-marathon, but it’s not a small enough factor to ignore.
I’m also reminded of a quote from professional runner (and fellow long-hair enthusiast) Noah Droddy, who has said that an athlete has to “run slow in order to run fast.” What he’s trying to convey is that a runner can’t be afraid to take it down a few notches in order to save top speed for when he/she really needs it.
It’ll be a process, but this one-mile focus probably gives me the best opportunity I’ve ever had to follow through on a legitimate recovery schedule. Maybe there’s hope for me yet!
Calories burned (active): 1,064
Minutes exercised: 83
Hours stood: 15
Steps taken: 14,004
Activity: Six-mile run at 8:00/pace
Semicolon count: 0