Wednesdays. Oh how I love Wednesdays.
(OK that sounds like a…well…dumb way to open a blog entry. I know this. You know this. But work with me – it gets better.)
Why do I love Wednesdays? Well I’m glad you asked. Let me explain.
I’m the kind of person that is – for like of a more eloquent term – not-very-bright. When God was passing out brains I thought He said “trains”, and asked for a really long one. My rather meek level of intelligence is very clearly illustrated in the way I run. Whether the training schedule calls for a five mile tempo run, hill work, or the weekly long run…I run every day at the same exact pace.
Seriously. The same exact pace. And that is SLOW.
I began getting impatient with myself and my lack of progress. The way I was looking at it, I felt like my inner Kenyan would be released at any moment. However, he never has shown his really, really fast face. This has been the case – I’m not kidding – for YEARS.
Nope. That’s not a typo. I said YEARS.
So just recently I actually stopped expecting this transition to a fast runner to simply happen, and I began researching HOW to MAKE it happen. So I cracked open a book – an actual book with pages, words, and wisdom contained within – and began to research how a runner actually gets quicker over time. What I learned made me knock my head against the wall repeatedly until Baci (that’s my awesome puppy) (and the name is Italian for Kisses) (they tell me she’s a poodle / shitz-tsu mix…but I say that’s bullshit because her attitude and feistiness screams paisan at me) (I am digressing – see: not the brightest bulb on Broadway) began to growl her very clear disapproval at my rather juvenile behavior.
According to what I’ve read, advanced / elite runner run 70-80% of the time at a pace that is 60-90 seconds per mile slower than their race pace. That other 20-30% of the time, they do speed work that really makes them push themselves to the limit.
WOW. I am doing this all wrong.
Whenever I go to practice with Team For Kids, I always feel the pressure of trying to show my coaches and team mates that I can clip off 5-6-7-8 miles at a 9 minute pace. When I’m done, I feel great…for about an hour and a half. The next day, I feel like my legs have no juice in them. So I begin running slower, I watch others fly by me, I get self-conscious and off I go like a bat out of hell. And so the cycle continued, with me always running as hard as could.
According to what I read – that was a mistake. I need to shut out the nonsense and the pseudo peer pressure and just stick to a smart game plan. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays: I’m running 60-90 seconds slower than what I want my race pace to be. That should result in my legs being able to recover quicker. Saturdays are my usual weekly long runs – so I’ll run close to my race pace (10 minutes per mile – I want a 4 hour 20 minute finish in NYC in November) and get myself used to the right rhythm. And Wednesdays – oh baby Wednesdays – THAT is my speed work day. That is when I can run like a lunatic and push myself hard.
And that’s why I LOVE WEDNESDAYS.
Steve Prefontaine – a famous runner from the 1970’s which all runners simply refer to as “Pre” – once said that “My only pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die.” I think I took Pre’s words a bit too seriously. I need to run SMARTER – not harder.
Oh yeah – P.S.: I tried out my new Salomon hydration pack this morning along the bridal path for about 5 miles. I’ve got to share my thoughts on this one. So check back in a bit for a quick review!
Until next time! Great long-term habits begin with a simple decision at the outset: the decision to get out there and get in motion. I don’t care if it’s down the block for a walk or a 10k run in the woods. Motion creates emotion. You don’t get today back – so back it count.
If you’d like some information on The Dream Team Project or would like to make a donation to their amazing cause, please stop by the website: www.wdwradio.com/the-dream-team-project I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really believe in what The Dream Team Project stands for. It raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping to grant the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Being s former wish-granter for the NYC Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I can tell you first-hand just how much of an impact this organization makes in the lives of children. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. Thanks!
…and if you’d like a bit more information on the WDW Radio Running Team, please check out the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WDW-Radio-Running-Team/163606410344409