Monday, July 10, 2006

Are those miles calling me?

Just a small inkling that everything is going to be fine is all I need to imagine myself running high mileage again. One of the common denominators found among accomplished runners whether it be the elites or the local running scene is mileage. The fastest tend to run the most miles. I suppose it is quite possible that there are high mileage mid packers etc. but the difference between me (a perennial 3rd to 5th place finisher in certain races) and the winner is miles. I was just logging some back mileage onto www.running-journal.com and I took a peek at the "leader board" where the mileage of the those who log here is available for view. Consistently, those with the best mileage can be found to win their chosen races. A quick google verifies.

And even me... my best races follow a period of high mileage. And all of my injuries follow a period of high mileage. It's the risk / reward dilemma. Or more specifically, a telling display of a lack of prudent training when prudence is needed. But... what's a learning curve for? Specifically, my 2nd place 1:26 half on the horrid hills of the Fundy National Park was following 3 weeks of 100 miles. My (relatively) easy 3:14:xx at Cape Cod was following 3 weeks of 80+ mile weeks. '05 Holyoke Marathon, '04 MDI marathon - high mileage training. Even when I was a kid, my division races (small schools) were run with high mileage (back then it was 7 miles one day, 3 the next with 10 milers on weekends). No speed, just miles.

Not saying it's the best method, but there is something about the endorphins, the shaky light feeling that lasts all day after putting in 18 miles before breakfast. Or maybe the short stuff is too hard??? I know what a bonk is. I can handle it. One day the mosquitoes almost carried me off as I collapsed just beyond the airstrip at the airport - I couldn't go one. step.further. After providing a feast for the buzzing pests, I stumbled home. This I can handle. I know what's happening.

But doubling over retching because I ran a 300m interval too fast... what is that?? Fear. And to top it all off, you bust your guts and log 2.4 miles at the end of all. Rot. The same for hills.

Whenever I read Lydiard's lectures on training, I always skip over the anaerobic sections and just read the 'marathon conditioning' phase. Of course, there's never anything new there. Just run for as long as you can. So I feebly turn the pages to read about hills and speed. It's not so bad reading about it. It's all sanitized for consumption. Stuff about pH levels, running until your tired, recovering from the workouts etc. I think a warning should be printed about how one feels when lactic acid builds. In a word, not good.

To get to my point, I am happily sitting here thinking that I need some miles. But it is still all a dream as I work through my malady. It won't be long. I'll be out doing the 20 milers with Team Boyden. It looks like the crew hasn't met up since May. Each one's schedule has taken off in separate directions. Once I'm back to the long run I'll call an early Sunday morning meeting. Nothing makes the miles slide on by like friends.

Speaking of friends. I finally saw Eric running by the house tonight. He's doing doubles as well in order to squeeze in the miles. Now that I'm wandering about Eastport in the morning hours again, perhaps I'll run into him again. And there's another soul running about town. I spied him the other day as I took off for work. We'll dig into this matter and find out who he is and of course lure him into running Sunday morning 20 milers.

So those are my thoughts for tonight. I'll close with this recommendation: get a motorcycle. After a hard day's work, a 45 minute cruise back to the house is just what the doctor ordered.

7 Comments:

Blogger Mark I. said...

Nice post. I enjoyed the read. :)

7/11/2006 12:34 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

Walking the tightrope between injury and speed is probably the hardest thing in coaching. I think that from your post, your speed work may be too fast. How fast are you doing your 300's? What pace have you been doing your other running at?

7/11/2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger Robb said...

You pointed to the big thief - fear. I think you're bang on with that. Personally, I battled the speedwork - I know it rounds you off as a runner and does build you, however it's not much fun.

I also think the long miles make you a faster runner and a smarter runner.

7/12/2006 8:59 AM  
Blogger D said...

Although I am not even close to being in your league of runners, I agree on the mileage. My best performances have been when I run high mileage - that is also when I get injured.

By the way, I got a kick out of your comment on Marc's blog.

7/12/2006 12:25 PM  
Blogger Love2Run said...

I'm there with you Andrew where fear is concerned at least. Fear of the tempo, long mid-week run when feeling run down, long (lonely) Sunday runs ;-) Can't wait to get back together again. Heal well!

7/13/2006 8:31 PM  
Blogger katesun said...

Hey I tagged you . YOU have to respond it is BLOG LAW. Just kidding hope you are doing well. We will be up in Maine the end of August . Wish we could move up there .

7/15/2006 1:30 PM  
Blogger The Servant said...

Really enjoyed your post. I'm focusing on 10Ks this season, with an aim to run a full next spring. I miss those long runs. I glanced back at my on-line logbook and noticed that some of my Sunday runs this time last year amount to roughly my weekly mileage now. Sigh.

7/18/2006 3:22 PM  

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