Faking it

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments on Wednesday in response to my whining about my ugly run on Tuesday. You’re all very nice, and very smart.

I was planning to post something today about my recent reunion with organized yoga (stay tuned … it’s coming!). Then, I had a wonderful, redemptive five-mile run on Thursday, and I was going to post something about that. Then, after that run, I dared to upload the past few months’ worth of activity from my Garmin, and I realized something important: I’ve kind of been faking it.

Taking a good, hard look at my past few months’ worth of activity highlighted something I’d been in denial about: I’ve barely been running since ACL reconstruction surgery in January. Scanning my list of workouts on Garmin Connect, I realized I’ve logged only a few runs longer than four miles since January. One of those was the Rockville Rotary Twilight 8K in July. Another was the Bolder Boulder 10K in May. Another was a solitary 5.7-miler before the 10K, and a speedy 10-miler. The speedy 10-miler cheered me up, until I realized it was Steve’s. None of them, save for the Silver Spring Earth Day 5K in April, had an average pace faster than 9-minute miles (the Earth Day 5K was just under 9-minute miles).

Fascinating! It’s almost as if running three miles at a time at a light jogging pace prepares you only to jog three miles at a time at a light jogging pace, not to run five miles quickly and easily!

Though I hadn’t verbalized this expectation, this is, in fact, exactly what I was expecting to do on Tuesday, during that first group run in which I ran the full route, and attempted to run something resembling a “normal” speed.

Obviously, I’ve had lots of excuses to go light on the running (banged-up knee, big, hard swim). And obviously, there’s nothing wrong with just heading out and lollygagging on the trails for 30 minutes a few times a week. But looking at my stats made me face a hard truth: You can’t lollygag on the trails and also expect to kick butt during a fast road workout.

I wasn’t consciously trying to fake training for this upcoming Marine Corps 10K in October, or for anything else; but I wasn’t being honest with myself, either.

I’m not trying to dis on myself. I mention this to appreciate and understand where I am right now, and to set reasonable goals for myself over the next few weeks.

When I’m actually training for a road race, I like the FIRST training plan, which advocates for three hard days of running plus three days of running-friendly cross-training (swimming, luckily, is one of FIRST’s favorites). So over the next several weeks, rather than just heading out three days a week and doing whatever my inner toddler feels like, I’m going to do one tempo run, one day of speedwork and one “long” run, with my goal being to work up to 10 miles before the 10K, but at least a seven-miler. Since I’m also training for the Daiquiri Deck Tropical Splash 5K swim on Oct. 1, I might even write … a training plan! (Gasp!)

How do you balance focused training and pace expectations with pleasing your inner toddler? My inner toddler is curious.


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5 responses to “Faking it

  1. Sigh, I hear you. I’m in the same exact boat. I don’t have the heart to look at my Garmin list from the last few months. I think I’d feel better if it included swims, at least it would look like I was up to something! I’m looking forward to being uninjured so that I too can put together a training plan for something, anything!
    Also, I really wish you lived closer- I love your blog and I’d love to be your friend and training buddy!
    Good luck with the REAL training. 🙂

  2. I’m laughing because I did the same thing this spring with biking! Only riding once a month at a slow pace didn’t retain my fitness? THE WORLD IS SO UNFAIR.

    See you later tater!

  3. I feel like I was like this at the beginning of the summer when I first started tri training. I was so concerned about spending enough time on the bike and in the pool that I neglected running. I thought I was doing a lot more than I was and then at the end of the month I was a bit surprised to see how low my run totals were!

    I like the FIRST plans as well. I think that sounds like a great plan to use for getting yourself ready for MCM10k and the open water 5k at the same time.

  4. i have this mentality problem too.

    you mean i can’t pr after running for 3 months at a slower than slow pace? huh? 😉

    i’m having to work extra hard to keep this in mind now as i attempt to rebuild from ‘0’!

  5. Ann

    Amy, I was doing that too. Then I hired Jeff at PRSFit and I can’t believe the focus my training has taken. It felt weird to think about hiring a coach since I am not a competitor but considering the amount of work I put into it and the amount of doctor’s bills I was paying because I did so many stupid things with my training, it has made total since to hire someone who knew that they were doing.

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