Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend

Hello, handful of readers. The weather turned this week, and I hate to admit it, but so did my mood. It's funny what a couple days of nice weather can do to an attitude. I'm writing this blog while I watch Mr. Holland's Opus. I have to write a review of it from a teaching perspective from my education class. I'm not sure why, but it's been really tough to do schoolwork the last couple weeks. I'm starting to feel a little disconnect between what I'm learning and what I want I do. For whatever intelligence I've been given and developed on my own, I don't think I'm a particularly academic type. Reading about Gardner's Intelligences and Rothstein and Payne and looking at theoretical case studies doesn't give me any particular satisfaction. I like being able to look at a problem, solve the problem, evaluate my solution, do something better, and so on, etc. I don't really know where I'm going with this- other than expressing a little burnout with theory and background. I don't mind doing a lot of reading, or the constant flow of papers and deadlines. I like sitting down and working hard on a challenge that requires intellectual rigor; I don't like working in the hypothetical.

Anyway, no one wants to hear an undergrad whining. Cathartic as it is, it doesn't have anything to do with running!

Here's my log from the week:

Monday: 12:30PM- 7mi east in some miserable-ass wind and rain.
9:30PM- 5mi easy indoors.

Tuesday: AM- 30:30 shakeout indoors, downpouring again. 3:30PM- Bruce and I decided to switch up the tempo and intervals this week so I could work out with Eric instead of tempoing in crappy weather alone. 3 up, 2xmile with Eric, 4:43, 4:41 with an 800 jog (led the 2nd 800 of the first mile and the first 1000 of the 2nd mile) then paced Eric through the 1000 of his 3rd mile (2:54) then jogged 3min, gave Bruce some feedback, and in the end, he told me to run another 1000 at 3:00 and stay in an "easy gear." I ran 2:58 and was surprised at how easy the whole workout went. Bruce originally wanted me to shoot for 4xmi at ~4:45 or so, but I got a little out of hand trying to help Eric out. Still, it was a good, solid 5200m of work at ~5k gear. I'm pleased with the way my fitness is progressing. 3mi down.

Wednesday- PM- 8mi solo after student teaching. The kids were taking exams today, so I got to sit in the back of the room and pretend to read a book while sneakily making sure no one was cheating. I caught a couple texters but no major offenses.

Thursday- 4PM- 10mi easy on the River, got down to ~6:15s or so for a lot of the second half of the run. The weather probably had a lot to do with it! Drills on Nickerson after.
10:30PM- 4mi easy on the River alone, tough to get going but glad I got it in. Core/strength

Friday- 1PM- 6mi easy with Eric to Brookline Res and back. Took the T to the bus station then the bus back home. 7PM- At Hood Field, my old summer standby for workouts. Continuous run with a 4mi tempo section included: 3mi up, 19:46, 4mi tempo, 20:55 (5:26, 5:16, 5:11, 5:02) nice and easy. The field has seen a lot of rain lately, so I ran barefoot and got to splash through the mud in the puddles, which made it fun even if it slowed me down quite a bit. It was pretty dark by the time I finished, so I jogged a mile and headed home for dinner. I averaged 5:14s through the mud, compared to 5:22s two weeks ago for a tempo at the perfect firm dirt of the Brookline Res, so I was pleased to see yet another solid indicator of progression.

Saturday- 12pm- 5mi easy on the railroad beds, warm out. 5:30PM- 10mi easy, through some monster hills on the backroads of Derry.

Sunday- 14mi easy around Beaver Lake and Cross St a couple times, warm with a strong sun. I didn't drink enough (or anything, actually) before this run, so I paid for it.

Tot 92mi
12 runs
1 core/strength session
1 day of drills
0 strides

Getting better at incorporating at the nitty gritty stuff. This week I want 2 of each extra session in addition to continuing the momentum I've built up. On the docket for this week is a harder tempo tomorrow and then some kind of interval work on Thursday, I think. Hope everybody's outdoor seasons are going well!


  1. Craig...long time reader, first time commenter; I raced behind you in a few 1500s in college when you were at Keene. Anyway, I refer to theory and background as necessary evils for education majors. Sure, they're important...but not as important as the experience of teaching itself.

    I can tell you that when/if you do a full student-teaching experience (it sounds like right now you're in a sort of pre-practicum?), being an education major becomes MUCH more enjoyable. I even ran faster when I was student teaching my senior year because I was just happy to be away from the theoretical, over-analyzed stuff and was able to figure things out my own way (trial by fire!) in an actual classroom, where I got a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I know it sounds disconnected, but when you're enjoying what you're learning in college, everything else is easier.

    Sure, I used the theory stuff, and I still do today in my job. But, teaching is so much more than that, and "throwing out the book" is sometimes the best thing to do. Then again, my undergrad professors were not as based in theory as they were in application of course content to the actual classrooms we would eventually be taking over in the real world.

    So, I guess this is my long winded way of saying that it DOES get better. If you're like me and your academics mirror your running, then I'm sure when you finally get to the good stuff you'll be even faster than you are now! Good luck with outdoor...and sitting through the rest of Gardner et al!

  2. JB- Thanks for all the kind words! I actually decided recently that classroom teaching isn't really something I have any sort of calling for. I'm more interested in public policy/policy analysis, and so I've decided to continue to pursue my English Lit degree but change my Education pursuits to a degree in Economics instead.

    I'm not sure if I'll be pursuing grad school right away or working a little first, but eventually I'd like to work on either my MBA or my Masters in Public Policy.

    Who did you compete for in college? I'm sorry if we've met in person; I can't quite put a face to your name.

  3. Do you usually only do 2 workouts a week? I see a lot of teams do 3 workouts a week alternating hard and easy days (example: Monday hard Tuesday easy Wed hard and so on). If you don't break down doing 3 workouts a week and only taking 1 easy day per workout instead of 2 or 3, will it help you improve more because you are getting more quality work in?

  4. My coach, Bruce, has coached Olympians and all sorts of elites, and he says that while plenty of people CAN run 3 workouts a week, that doesn't mean that it's optimum to do so. I can (and have, many times) tempo 10 miles one day, come back and rip intervals the next day, then jog twice the third day and start the whole series again. I don't do that anymore because it doesn't serve any purpose other than making me too tired to race well.

    Another thing to ask is "what defines a week?" From Monday-Sunday, I might have 2 workouts in a long run. On the other hand, here's what my Tuesday-Monday looked like:

    Tues- intervals
    Wed- easy
    Thur- 14mi in two runs
    Fri- tempo
    Sat- 15mi in two runs
    Sun- 14 hilly
    Mon- tempo

    That's 3 quality workouts, a long run over hilly terrain, some long doubles, and one truly "easy" day. You can mess with the "amount of workouts" in a week a lot just by changing around the start date.

    However, I think the question you're asking is "why do you take 2 easy days after a workout as opposed to one?"

    The simple answer is that in Bruce's experience, an athlete develops better and puts together more consistency than an athlete trying to fit in 3 workouts every week. There are obvious exceptions to that general observation, but basically, "could" you do something is different than "should" you do it. Bruce's training isn't very "sexy." It's based on consistent, reasonable, applied effort over years and years.