Sunday, January 10, 2010

Change of Plans (Or: Blogs Multiplying like Rabbits)

Hmm, well, before the log, I think some notes are in order. In the last couple weeks or so, there's been an explosion of runner blogs on the interwebs. A few of my teammates and a bunch of the Cortland guys have given into the temptation of the digital age and started blogging.

First, like the xkcd author noted in a comic, the word "blog" is itself ridiculous. I keep expecting it to grow on me, but I don't think I'll ever be able to take something called a "blog" too seriously.

Second, a common complaint I've heard about these online logs is that they serve only to satisfy the ego of the writers. Keeping in mind that my opinion is a little biased, I think that runner blogs aren't inherently self-serving. The cool thing about runners is that we might try our damnedest to smash each other into the tartan during a race, but most runners are happy to cool down with guys from other teams, invite them to functions, train with them in the off-season, etc. I think blogs are a way not only to keep in touch with these friend/rivals but to spread information.

I've never understood the idea that training should be some kind of secret. I'm certainly not foolish enough to think that the workouts that took me to 4:08 are these magical, secret rituals that, if revealed to the world, would result in every 4:20 miler out there dropping down to 4:05 and relegating me to sad anonymity. I don't want to get all John Parker here, but there aren't any secrets to running faster. There are, however, as many specific ways to improve as there are people trying to improve. I've said to questioners from the beginning that if one kid reads something on here, applies it to his or her own running and sees a positive result, then the year of blogging I've done would be entirely worth it. While there might not be "secrets" to improving, there are a lot of passionate, dedicated kids out there who think hammering 30mi a week with 4 interval workouts is the way to the top.

Likewise, I've learned a lot from the running blogosphere over the years. On one hand, we oftentimes tend to view the elite athletes as talented, inhuman freaks. The few elite athletes out there who keep a blog get points in my eyes when they dare to be vulnerable and complain about how they feel. On the other hand, the blogs that I've always found the most useful blogs are the ones kept by the athletes that have clawed their way to respectability. I might not take a specific workout from Ruben Sanca or Shamus Nally, but seeing what they have to say about running or getting to look at a six month block of their training is extremely useful to a guy like me.

I suppose, in short, I've never much worried that someone I race would read what I have to say on here and "figure out how to beat me." It's not tough to "figure out" how to beat someone. Get in the best shape you can, race to the best of your abilities and in accordance with your strengths, and the rest will fall into place. I am a 20 year old running nerd. I don't pretend to have all the answers, or even most of them. In distance running, I've read a lot, figured out some on my own, and been lucky to have some truly great minds to pick. Whether this blog will someday be an early look at elite runner's development, a detailing of a guy who had the tools but crashed and burned, or of just another running nerd whose dreams exceeded his talents is impossible to say now. But thus far, it's been great fun to figure out how fast I can run in circles. I've met some really cool people, done some cool things, and I'm committed to see this thing through for a while. I hope that no matter what my lifetime PRs end up being, the journey I detail helps a couple people.

I guess what all this rambling means (I'm shuddering to think of the email I'll get from Kevin about being long-winded) is that I want to be better about blogging and not just recording what I did for the week. So, in one eensy bit of news, I'm not redshirting indoor track. Bruce and I had a chat and we agreed this was better- and I'm pumped! After my cross country season, I was a little disappointed that it would be April before I could put on a Boston singlet and contribute directly to the team. I mean, I wasn't upset about getting the chance to train hard through the winter, race a couple times, and come out swingin' in the spring, but I'm much happier to be racing in a Boston uniform.

Anyway, FINALLY, here's the log:

Monday- AM- Easy River Loop with James, 4mi, 30min- slippery. PM- 65:38 moderate, calling it 10 but it's likely that it was a little longer. Ran the 9th-ish mile on the outdoor track in 5:55, closed down with a comfortable 5:31 on the indoor track. Felt great- 6x150 buildups in spikes afterwards.

Tuesday- 12pm- Indoor track with Eric, Elliot, and Peter for a workout. Elliot's been having a little knee trouble, so he did something else. Eric, Peter, and I did 3k, 1500, 1500, with 5min jog after each interval. Our targets were 9:00 and 4:20s, we went 9:04, 4:21, 4:15. 3 miles easy, then did hurdle mobility with Eric and Peter. Great workout- felt easy, wore spikes the whole time and had no trouble at all just coasting through the workout. 6PM- 28min easy indoors with James, felt great.

Wednesday- AM- River Loop + a mile on Nickerson with James. PM- 34min out on Comm Ave away from the City with James, back in 33 to make it ten. Can't seem to get tired this week.

Thursday- AM- 11miles downtown via Comm Ave with James, 74min. PM- Took a bus back to Derry, then some friends and I drove to Farmington, Maine, to visit our friend Dave. I tell you. . . why anyone would want to live that remotely is beyond me.

Friday- 4PM- 50min around a basketball court in Farmington, then about an hour's worth of pickup basketball. As if I needed to be reminded, I'm not very good at basketball. We were playing half-court, which sucked for me, because I couldn't put any endurance to use. My best moment was when my friend Matt (who was on the other team) bumped into me and my bony knee gave him a charlie horse, hobbling his jump shot. Sigh. . .

Saturday- AM- Back to Boston. PM- 3 up, solo workout indoors. Workout was 1200, 600, 600, 1000, 500, 500, 800, 400, 400 with 3min jog after odd-reps and 2min jog after even reps. I hit the targeted splits but felt pretty crappy from travel. Ran 3:29, 1:43, 1:42, 2:52, 1:24, 1:22, 2:13, 66, 62. I felt kind of "stuck" at about 34.5 a lap, but I didn't strain.

Sunday- 2:30PM- 14 easy, solo, 95min. Cold, windy, bad footing- so decent pace. 4x150 buildups in spikes indoors after- the first one was 5:00 pace, maybe, but after that one I loosened up and ran 21-22s comfortably.

Tot 87 miles, 10 runs with one 7mi day. All in all, a very good week with two good workouts. My first race is a mile this Thursday- the meet is low-key, but the competition should actually be pretty good. I'm not sure about what kind of shape I'm in, so my goal is to just put on the spikes and race hard.

Have a good week, everyone!

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