Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Change of Heart

I suppose it is somewhat ironic that after writing about how running had become a chore, I was due to run the highest mileage of my training this past week. At 67 miles, it was also the most miles I had ever run in a week. So how did it go? Best running I’ve done in a long time, maybe ever.

How can I account for this change in attitude and experience? I think it comes down to admitting my frustration last week. As soon as I was able to admit that I was not enjoying myself, the joy came back. Feelings, it seems, are like little children (and big children and adults) in that they want to be acknowledged. Ignore them and they will figure out a way of getting your attention, quite possibly at a time that will be more inconvenient than the present. Give them a little attention, or simply acknowledge them, and they will feel heard and stop demanding your attention.

Maybe one day I’ll try and apply this to life beyond running.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Law of Diminishing Returns

I sometimes wonder, only half-jokingly, what it would be like to be a full-time runner, with a sponsorship deal, and nothing to do but run and train. I am quite sure that I will never find out what I would be able to achieve under those circumstances. Recently, in training for my next marathon, I have been training in what I thought would be the next best way. I have been running seven days a week and building weekly mileage totals way beyond anything I have done before. Although I have gotten faster, there have been some big negatives.

For the first time since I started running, I have no days off. ZERO. That is not just physically exhausting, but mentally exhausting as well. The time off gave me a chance to recover and relax. Without that time, I am more tired than ever. Additionally, all this running gives me less time with my family. As much as I have selfishly been willing to carve out training time, even where no time was available, this time I realize it is too much. Had someone else pushed me to back off I would have resisted, now however the realization comes from within. For the first time since I started running, it feels like a chore; something else to be crossed off my “to do” list. So this is it. I will not be training as much for future races.

So why not back off now? This might be my only chance to get a time that gives me a shot at Boston. Although, I will probably be shut out of the race, I have to give it a shot. I know the next six weeks will continue to be difficult, particularly with Pesach (Passover) in the middle, but the end is in sight. Having come this far, I need to know whether I can break 3:20. With a reduction in training days and mileage, I might never get there again, so, reluctantly, I am in. The call this the law of diminishing returns. It is too late to turn back. I look forward to it being over.