Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why running plans just don't work!!!

I know for the vast majority of folks that read this post, it will fall on deaf ears.  However, running plans are useless, they really are but it is something we buy into.  If you really think about it, our bodies don't perform or adhere to set rules about distance, pace and intensity.  In fact, our bodies, being the exceptional devices they are, are too sophisticated for set running plans.  In other words, we are trying to dummy down as sophisticated device, which really doesn't make sense.

To tell, and ultimately force, your body to do a set workout on a set day makes no sense "unless" you are a professional elite runner that "must" peak on a specific day and time and, under course of action, you are teetering along the line of disaster and injury.  The goal of a professional runner is to push the body to the brink of disaster without crossing the line, all in hopes of peak performance on a specific day and time.  For the elite, the risk and reward ratio is worth it.  Heck, I would push my body to disaster to win a major professional race and/or an Olympic medal.  However, for us mere mortals, to adhere to a modified race plan doesn't make sense.

I spent years, like many of you, running according to a pre-set race plan that would tell me how long, how fast and how often to run.  Boy, was a blind but I had nothing else to guide me until I figured out how to "run by feel," which led me to re-discover the amazing structure and design of the human body.  When you really "let go," and learn to rely on your own body and natural instincts, a new world is uncovered.  I have no idea exactly how far or fast I will run each day but I figure it out during the run because I let me body and mind guide me.  Here's the genius in it, we runners often say the body says one thing but the mind say another and that's true when you have blocked communication messages.

When you learn to let go, actually the body and mind align.  I know when to take a rest day, for example, and it's based on feel, not how many consecutive days I've run or how fast or slow or how long.  It's a feel, that is deep and down to the muscles and tendons.  In fact, I can feel my body repair.  In fact, today is a prime example, which is why I'm writing this post.  Two days again, I was running sub 6:00 per mile pace and today I ran a 10:25 pace.  What a delta, right?  Well, no, it's because I run by feel.  My muscles were tight for Saturday's run and after a warm-up, I knew it was going to be a fast pace run.  I also knew by the feel of my "loose" muscles this morning as well as my mental feeling that today was what other runners call a recovery day.  I do keep a log and I took a glance, and low and beyond, I've run 9 of the last 10 days which included 2 fast pace days (note:  I had not looked at my log in any detail in a while).  The point is, I didn't need the data because the data was in my body and mind and the message is clear that tomorrow is a rest day, but not because some running plan pre-decided but my body and mind, in total alignment, decided.

Like I said, very few runners will be willing to take the time to actually learn their own bodies.  It's not easy because it takes a completing letting go and 99% of runners are not willing or capable of doing that.


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