a different kind of training
After I wrote this piece about running marathons, retiring from race bibs, and kinda hating on training in general, you think it’d be hypocritical to sign up for two races.
Welp, I’m doing the Brooklyn Half in May and the Montauk Olympic Triathlon in June. But the big difference is in how I’m approaching my training. I’ve basically ditched any concept of numbers, and am going to run (and swim and bike…yikes) purely off of feel. I’ll also be training with friends — something I’ve never really done before. (Somebody needs to teach me how to swim.)
Until I start actually training, I’ve been trying to stay in normal feel-good shape. I’ve been doing some tempo runs on the treadmill, but have basically covered the screen with a towel and turned up the speed until I find myself at a comfortable-but-uncomfortable pace. (Whether that’s 6xx or 7xx I have no idea.) My ‘long’ runs have topped off at 6 miles (it’s too insanely cold to be outside and I reach a mental limit on the treadmill), and I have focused most of my workouts on strength training and yoga instead of hitting weekly mileage goals.
This weekend was also my first back at the track. The super hot 40 degrees took me out in shorts, a tank top, and a fleece that I ditched after my first (and only…) mile repeat. I wanted to see how my speed was doing, since I haven’t been running all that much. It turns out my days of 6:30-6:40 repeats will take some work getting back to. I hit 6:50 on my first mile and felt pretty exhausted — the tiredness you feel when it’s time to stop, not recover and go at it again.
But instead of getting frustrated, I was humbled. It makes sense I’m a bit slower, and I channeled that energy into motivation to get back to up to speed. (Puns!) Also, I felt like I had just run a 6:30 — I pushed my body to the comfortable limit you should for the first repeat of anything, but could tell I was simply a bit out of shape. I decided to switch up the remainder of the workout and do some 800s and 400s sans watch, and felt that amazing sense of track-pain accomplishment I truly (and sometimes oddly) miss without having a clue as to what my splits were.
So that’s the plan: fewer numbers and more fun times. That all said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a sense of a numeric goal for these races — especially the half. But at the end of the day, I’ve learned (I hope?) from my past experiences. No matter when I cross the finish, I know I will have left it all on the course. Besides, my body knows me way better than my garmin, and I’d rather enjoy the whole journey than get caught up in all the data.
And who knows, I’ve been told the less pressure I put on myself the faster I’ll run. Now that’s a fun experiment.