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

Monday, December 17, 2012

The journey to be what I want to be . . .

My 7+ years of dedicated running has been an amazing journey and I look forward to where it will take me next.  However, I've had to veer off in different directions to learn what I like and what works for me.  Recently, for the 2nd time in 7 yrs., I significantly increased my weekly mileage from 40-45 miles per week ("mpw") to 60-70 mpw and I learned (yet again) a few things about myself.

1.  The heavier mileage is very time consuming (well, that's obvious :) and I tend to shed another 5-7 lbs. which sounds great but I'm already thin and it really is the threshold between to types of bodies for different purposes.  When I'm at the lower mileage range, I do a lot more race pace training and I tend to do a lot more upper, lower and core training . . . long story short, I'm stronger at the lower mileage range although I don't have the level of endurance I have at the higher mileage range.  At the high mileage range, my body looks like a marathoner as opposed to more of the 800 meter to 1 mile runners who tend to be slightly heavier with more muscle and definition.   Well,  I like the latter.  I don't like the feel of the marathon body, plus I like speed so I'm returning to what I call my "5k body" vs. the "marathon body."

2.  Running is an important "part" of my life but not my life.  The more you push toward 100 mile weeks, running become more than just a part, especially for us folks with spouses and kids.  I run to be more fit, happier and a better person but running is something I do and weave into my life and not the reverse where I weave life into running.  So, in my world, that's the difference between a 5-6 mile weekly day run vs. a 8-10 mile weekly day run.  The former allows me to see my kids in the morning and watch them head out the door.  The latter requires me to leave before they get up and return after they've left for school.  I choose the former.

3.  I'm ultra competitive which is just in my DNA from being a high school and collegiate athlete so I admit I need something I can excel at and I can do very well at the 5k and still have a normal life vs. the time and training required to excel at the marathon.

4.  I don't like being injured and less miles reduces my chances for injury as well as it eliminates having to constantly run in a fatigued state.  That isn't fun.  I've gone months where I run every day in a fatigued state and I don't like it.

5.  I like running every day and with this approach, I'm stronger and it allows me to absorb workouts on a 7 day a week basis without overloading my body to maintain a level of fitness for the longer distances.

I've been reminded that you clearly need to answer, for yourself, "why do you run and what makes you smile"  While I try different things with my running, my answer tends to be the same.


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