I am ashamed to admit that I get stuck in ruts. Huge ruts. Enormous ruts. Ruts that suck the fun right out of running. Most of us have regular running routines that we find hard to adjust, but I theorize that my tendency for routine is evidence of a far greater character flaw. My breakfast choices do not vary. I have two coffee shops I visit despite the fact that I live in a town teeming with such establishments, and I have a pair of earrings dedicated to running that I wear at no other time. The rut I got stuck in prior to the Eugene Marathon was especially mind-numbing. I was so concerned about hitting certain workouts, certain times and certain paces. It was all a little bit stressful.
But now that the marathon is behind me and it’s unlikely that I will race another road marathon until the fall (not saying I won’t be racing, I just won’t be prepping for a big road marathon), I can reinvent my training plan and escape the running ruts I’ve created. Welcome back, variety. I missed you.
I’m back playing on the trails again. I am unconcerned (ok, less concerned) with what my watch says every mile. And I’m also planning my summer of running goals;
1. I need to upgrade my upgrades: I am not a very strong hill climber and want to improve on both my form and my ability to manage ascents. I’ll need to re-examine both my stride and the manner in which I drive my arms.
2. I need to remember that heart rate monitors are to be worn not to be looked at: No more pretending. I’ll need to wear it consistently. Because trail running can be so varied, so extreme, having a better idea of what my effort level is on the trails will become very important.
3. I need to buddy up. I have this brilliant idea that running with faster people will make me faster! No kidding . . . As a side note, this morning I worked out with an ex-collegiate runner. We ran about 7.5 or eight miles on some slippery trails (including a nasty firelane) at 7:30 or so pace. It wasn’t an all-out effort, but it wasn’t a walk in the park either. It was definitely perky. Productive even. Or so I thought. After we finished Ex-Collegiate Runner said, “Thanks, it’s great to have a good slow recovery run like that.” Yikes!
4. I need to develop a drinking problem. You’d think with all the running I do I’d be a human sponge, soaking up water wherever I go. But no, I just don’t drink enough water and my runs suffer as a result. So, Heather, are you paying attention? Good. Remember. Drink more water! No excuses.
5. I need to get hard core about my core. Developing strong core muscles become hugely important in distance running and will become even more important if i want to continue to improve. I guess there is no way around it. If i want to be a responsible runner, if I want to be a faster runner, I’m going to need to quit being lazy and start doing ab work.