Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Long Plan

In running what you plan isn’t always what you get. I guess you could substitute a lot of words with running and have that make sense, never the less the statement remains true. This past track season of mine I didn’t get what I planned. An unexpected move and a quad injury, to name two primary setbacks, limited my schedule from a season with six or seven meets to only three 1500’s over four weeks.

My first race of the season, which I approached tentatively for about 700 meters before opening up, was a 4:04. I was excited. The next two kind of went downhill. I took out my second race even easier than the first. Killer humidity (7pm on the Jackson 10k day) and fatigue from exterior stress (I volunteered at the race in the morning and drove to Boston to race that day) were both factors in my pacing. While I finished the last 300meters in 46, that doesn’t change the first 1200. The last race I felt beat and dealt with awkward muscle pain. All in all, they were both 4:06’s, and if that’s the three races from my season, I’ll take them.

I try and look at the track season as a big speed builder for the summer 5k’s. The transition from the shorter to short running takes a few weeks (3-6 I’d say). I wanted to race Bridgeton’s 4th race but that fell through at the last minute. This Sunday is the unplanned debut for a 5K right next door to my new home in Massappequa. That’s where the race is. Not my new home. That’s in Farmingdale. Glad I cleared that up. I guess I feel trepidation as the race approaches.

I was feeling kind of burnt out and the last two weeks I trained on the roads. I dropped my workouts from three (or two if I'm racing) to one or two larger ones a week. I ran for effort or tempoed over established routes. Intensity based training is cool. Instead of 2-5xmile at my 5k race pace (plus or minus 7-10 seconds per mile) with 3-4 min rest, I do 5x 5min hard 3min easy after I get 20min into my run. In the case of 5x5min hard 3min easy, hard is supposed to be the same intensity as its track “doppelganger” and easy is walking for 90 seconds and jog/running for the next 90. Workouts on the roads, except in very certain circumstances like a USATF certified course, fail to offer the reliability of confidence offered by their track counterparts.

I try to elicit the correct intensity associated with the workout through each bout from start to finish. The track offers you reliable splits superior even to a GPS. The track tells you what you cover not a recording of what you have covered. The latter, offered by GPS, could be compared with the former to see how well you can run the shortest distance. Regardless, the roads over the last two week’s point to good feelings but nothing quantitative besides time spent.

Either way the long runs of the winter and the speed of the spring will come around for the August and early September races. I look forward to Cigna on the 14th of August. This upcoming Sunday’s 5k will come and go, as well as Cigna and the rest of my later races. Maybe they will go as planned maybe not. In both cases several things will happen. They will become the wrap up of my 5k season, this year’s racing, and the foundation for the next year. No new revelation here. However, when you dwell upon that, unplanned becomes a word that doesn’t really fit anymore.

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