Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mid Winter Blues

Read Runner's World, or any other runners' forum and you'll find tips for beating the winter blues. But I tell you, when you've got 'em, it is hard to restart the engine. Up here in Maine, we are experiencing daily wind chills of 35 degrees below 0 (Farenheit). It is dark, slippery, and cold. I am very unhappy with the way this January is shaping up. On the other hand, ever the optimist, I believe I am learning a valuable lesson in plan vs. reality. I have read before that we cannot control the weather. True. However, I wasn't prepared for not fulfilling my training (as I planned it) because of the weather. I had pictured some reduced mileage weeks or some uncomfortable days but what got me was the fact I couldn't perform the actual sessions of my "quality workouts". The roads are too slippery, the wind too cold, the snow too deep. Day after day, and now what seems like weeks, my training has become disjointed - an odd collection of various workouts that do not fit into any plan and seem to serve no purpose.

But then I started to think about what the "purpose" is that apparently is not being served. The purpose is to become fit and fast to run my next marathon in 2:45. Ok. While the basic formula for achieving this goal is the same across many training programs, they can be varied according to circumstances: athlete's current condition, time of year, weeks to race, and unknown events (bad weather). I need to redefine the training that serves the purpose. I need to be "flexible" - a term I don't like since it connotes a lack of seriousness in training (for me anyway). But flexibility is what I need. If hard speed is what I want, but long slow is all I've got, then I need to do the long slow. Instead I have found my motivation at all time lows because the workouts that I imagined I would be doing were slipping on by into the logbook of "did not run".

So let's see if I can put this new attitude in gear and bring my odd collection of workouts back into a resemblance of forward progress, proactive planning, and success. So tonight I resolve to learn from this mid-winter misfortune. On into the cold - slowly. Out on the slippery roads - slowly. The wind be d**** - slowly. After all, don't "miles make champions?".

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