How about that title?!
So I realized after posting my last video that it was my first one since August of 2020. I didn’t realize it had been that long. My running blog is similarly stale. So maybe more of an update is due here.
In Fall of 2020 I was training with a very traditional 5K plan I got off the internet. Lots of hard stuff on the track, fast 400s and 800s with short rest, then easy stuff in between, some hills and a long run. Very traditional training. And it was fine. Using that method, on my 49th birthday I ran a solo 5K time trial on the track of 20:49. But then that was it. I peaked, I crashed, and I burned out very quickly. Like, really flamed out. I could barely run over the Christmas holidays.
Going into 2021 I was toast and barely running. Covid sucked the life out of everything. I lost a lot of fitness. I came back in the Spring just running some easy mileage, then pulled my hamstring running a virtual 5K in June. It was in coming back from that injury that I ran across the Easy Interval Method. The gist of that method is that rather than the traditional approach of alternating between some very hard days and some very easy days, you run “easy intervals” every day with moderate effort. That’s a very simplified explanation, and maybe in a later post I’ll dive into it more deeply, but I started using the method in the fall of 2021. Turning 50 years old, I re-calibrated my running goals:
- Stay healthy
- Stay consistent
- Enjoy running
- Improve my times
With the new outlook and the new training plan I quickly improved and ran a couple of 5Ks a little slower than I had the previous year while using the traditional training. Except this time, I was staying healthy, I wasn’t burned out mentally or physically, and I was excited about training again. I followed EIM pretty closely, running 5 or 6 days a week, but going into the winter I was again feeling a bit burned out. Having to run “workouts” every day, even if they were “easy”, kind of weighed on me. So I switched to running the EIM workouts every other day. And that seems to be the sweet spot for me right now. My mileage is high, my fitness is good, I’m staying healthy but still running quality workouts, and my mental outlook is generally positive.
I’m not entirely sure I’m getting faster, though. I feel like there may be something missing. Long runs? Tempos or longer threshold runs? I don’t know. I need to get in some races and see where I am. A sub-20 minute 5K still seems like a pretty long way off. Some days I feel like I’ll get there. Go down to sea level, get in a fast race, use some fast shoes, learn to really suffer again. Then, other days, sub-20 seems impossible. I never even run my intervals at that pace, much less consecutive miles.
As always, though, the process is the point, not necessarily the end result. I’m enjoying the journey, so let’s see where it takes me.