One of the nicest things about taking a break from running has been taking a break from blogging. No pressure to be interesting or honest or witty or whatever, no critiques of your training. But I’m back now for a short update.
So I took seven days completely off from running. And nearly went insane. I thought I would feel great physically, and I never even considered the mental aspect. But after the first three days my legs felt terrible, achy all over, twitchy, atrophied, and mentally I was a basket case. I was going nuts forcing myself not to run, playing mind tricks to keep me in house and out of stinky shoes, obsessing over marathon books and training websites.
Finally, on the eighth day I rested, by going for a run. I think it was about six miles but it felt like 15. The plan was to never go faster than 8 min/mile and the first mile was 8:20 or so and I figured I had it locked in. Second mile: 7:48. What?! Consciously slow down…. Third mile: 7:45. WTF?! After that I moved to a shuffle and slowed under an 8/pace for the last half, but it sure didn’t feel good. But it sure did feel good to just be back out there, running. And I was only gone a week!
So I ran a “few more” times ;) that week, always striving to be no faster than 8/mi, occasionally working on form or stride rate or whatever. It was surprisingly hard to constantly run that pace. Seemed unnatural, uncomfortable, more pounding. By the end of the week I finally just gave in to my natural “easy” pace being somewhere around 7:50, depending on how I was feeling that day/mile/stride (I think Daniels’ Running Formula says 7:55). If that’s too fast, oh well.
Monday I showed up for the firecracker and was shown just how much my fitness has fallen. Again, oh well.
Today I went for another easy run. Felt superb the first couple miles, then crappy the next couple. Somewhere in Daniels’ book, he says, “if you feel bad while running, try running faster!” In that context he was talking about racing, but I decided to try it. I was sick of jogging. So I gradually picked up the pace over the last couple of miles and started to come alive for the first time since my respite. I haven’t been timing my splits and was just running by feel, but I’d say I probably topped out around 6:40 pace or so. It wasn’t labored, it was “comfortably hard”, and it felt great. Odd, because all of these easy jogs I’ve been doing have seemed, I don’t know, labored and taxing, even though (or because?) they’re slow, but this run was actually rejuvenating, certainly for the spirit if nothing else, and I’d have to hope physically as well.
So anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to, still obsessing that I’m not running enough, still constantly worried about that marathon in only 20 weeks that I’m undermining by not pumping out huge summer base mileage.