Monday, February 22, 2010

Training to Race, Racing to Train

This blog title sounds familiar. I think I might have used it last year. Or stolen it from someone. Sorry, Steve if I plagiarized again!

[Plagiarized - that is a great word - no matter how often I use it I can never spell it correctly, that first "i" just looks odd...]

Anyway, I guess I am planning to do a bit of both this year. OK, make that a lot of both.

I am not sure when (though I log my miles so I suppose I could find out), but at some point last year I changed from swearing by the “run less, cross-train more” to the “run more, cross-train as much as you can” school of thought. Not that I actually put much thought into it, I just started to run more miles and of course as any of you mileage-obsessed ultra runners know, it’s a slippery slope... 50 last week? Better do 60 this week. I can’t understand how she fits in 70 miles a week? If I run twice tomorrow I can make it to 80.

When I posted a few weeks back on goals for 2010 I meant to also include a mileage goal. 2010 miles would be an easy one I suppose but given that last year I was at 2060 I’m going to go with 201 miles per month on average - expecting that the summer/fall months will be the higher mileage ones. So that would be 201 x 12 = 2414 miles. I ran 226 in January and will probably be over 200 for February so maybe I should aim higher. But then again, I’ll likely overdo it and have to take a month off at some point. We use a tool at work called “Risk Based Planning”. I’m all about it.

Specifically, I would like to hit a few 90-100 mile alternate weeks during the summer. Even though I will race all of the races, no point trying to suggest otherwise, many of them I won’t taper for and will therefore consider them “training runs”. Way Too Cool next month being one of them. I will ease back a bit the week before but still try to hit 50 miles for the week. My main goal at that race is to have fun running in California and get a sense for the trails out there ahead of Miwok in May. That’s much more of a “goal race” for me. It’s a different location but from what I can tell a lot of the terrain - as in trail surface - is similar. But more climbs at Miwok.

I also thought I’d set a yoga goal. Here again I was messing around with the 2010 numerals and since I do a mix of Hot Yoga (usually the 90 minute class but sometimes an ‘express’ version that is 60 minutes) and Vinyasa (60 or 75 minute classes), I thought I’d set a time goal rather than number of classes... so for the sake of originality I came up with 201 hours. That’s close to an average of 4 hours a week. Some weeks I can easily fit in 5-6 hours but with a bunch of work travel this year there may be periods where it’s much less. Though one of my first Google searches for a new destination is always for a hot yoga studio - found a nice one in Boston last week and this week I’m going to try one in Vegas.

Speaking of yoga, one of these days I am going to write a lengthy post about the benefits of hot yoga for runners (not facts, just my point of view). I am sure I regularly bore people to tears talking about it but in the past few months a few friends have taken it up and I think they would agree it’s been a good addition to their training schedule. Of course, it’s more time, more money and depending where you live not always that accessible. For many people it’s a question of whether or not it’s worth the trade off vs another work-out.

Which brings me back to the higher mileage goal and necessary time that will take, given that I don’t really want to cut back on cross-training either. I am not sure if my lifestyle is conducive to my training goals or if my training goals are conducive to my lifestyle. I suppose in the end they are so integrated it doesn’t matter. I was asked, once again, by my chiropractor on Monday morning, where I find the time to run so much. This was after he asked how long I’d run at the weekend and I mumbled something about 20 miles or so on Saturday. I figured 25 would have been too close to the marathon distance for him to fathom as a training run, not to mention the Friday and Sunday runs. Or the 50K race the previous week. This was followed by “Don’t you ever, just, go to the movies with friends or something?” Movies? I watch them on the plane flying back and forth to Ireland a few times a year. I don’t mind this line of questioning. It wasn’t too many years ago that I would have rather do anything than work out. But I do get a bit pissed when the tone of the question assumes that I neglect the important things in life - family and friends - for the sake of training. Granted, the fact that I am single and my family is spread across the globe means that I don’t have some of the same constraints/obligations that others do. And I don’t mean that in a negative way even though those words make it sound that way. I am just blessed to have a wonderful circle - or more accurately circles, random groupings, ever-expanding gaggles - of friends that love to do what I do. Whether it’s on the trails, in the yoga studio, or on the bike - these people are my family. And spending time with them brings me as much joy as the activities we’re undertaking. I know I don’t need to explain this to anyone who reads my wanderings. But it feels good to put it into words...

I should finish by saying that despite his crappy insights, I think I am continuing to benefit from my weekly visits to the chiropractor. Or at least my body is :)