Monday, January 19, 2015

The "R" Factor

Half Way Sunday
 So it appears that after numerous years of highly controlled research that at the exact moment you become a runner you also become OCD about many things as well.  Did I finish the last tenth of a mile the way I was supposed to (after running 12)?  Was that four strides or five?  If I travel here for the weekend how in the world am I going to get my exact weekly mileage in and still be able to PARTY?  Some say "Run by the watch, die by the watch" and oh how true that statement is for a lot of us runners.  For me its so bad that I've recently joined a running club and the only thing I can think about is how I'll be able to find someone running my exact mileage on the days I'm supposed to at the exact specified pace I'm supposed to be running.  And trust me I know this is silly because I  should be looking forward to the comrodary found in plodding on mile after mile, but I'm still hesitant.

There is one thing though most runners seem to consistently ignore and its even written 1,2, or even 3 times a week on their training plans: Rest!  For me I'm in the week leading up to my Miami Half Marathon and with no taper so I can push on with my marathon training getting enough rest should be at the forefront of my mind but as the popular saying goes" ain't nobody got time for that."  Even more important than rests during the week is the monthly rest weeks built into the plans resulting in a decline of around 10% of the weekly mileage.  For me these weeks have always been my saviors, breaking my legs and body down as much as possible for three weeks and then gloriously building it back up through easy paced shorter long runs, shorter mid week runs, and an overall improvement in optimism and enthusiasm.

This week has been anything but that though.  For starters I made it home before 9pm only once and that was Monday.  On top of everything my runs were still begging to be made, rest week or not and with a little bit of wrangling I managed to get them all done.  With the half coming up next week though sleep needs to be a priority.  Study after study says that a key ingredient to any training plan, running or not is rest and recovery so minus one or two runs next week that will be my main focus and hopefully enough to get my legs back in shape to run a 1:52 half marathon (a seven minute drop of my PR).

So the question is when looking at so many factors that all runners obsess about why do we ignore something that very smart looking and speaking people (I think they're called scientists) say is a must?  We runners are a funny group.  We strive to do everything perfectly but when it comes to taking it easy or taking the day off we're the first to forget those "suggestions."  Speaking of: how funny is it that we run for hours on end daily but when it comes to 5 minutes of stretching how many of us blow through that as well?  Food for thought though:  I could be making this up again but I read in a recent article that some elite Olympic marathoners run their easy days at about 9:00 minute miles.  Is that wild or what?  I finished the last mile of my easy run today in my rest week way quicker than that!  Slow pokes...