2016 as told through running

Ushering in 2017…

As I become more and more of “masters” runner (such a polite term), I realize the most I can hope for in any year is staying healthy.   If I can do that, the year is a good one as far as running goes (and probably in general as well).  I did manage to stay healthy this year.  Sure, I am probably sore at least two days out of every week, but I guess that’s just what happens when you start doing speed work and lifting weights more than twice a year.   So this is a long, drawn out recap of what I did different this year.  It may seem boring but these are the kinds of posts I search for when figuring out my own training and racing.  

The year was early training for the Austin marathon then some downtime with a couple fun races then dedicated Fall marathon training that started in May.   Enough already on the Fall marathon fail, but I felt like I gained a lot this year.  It took months but I think I can finally follow a training plan.   I still get edgy when I get weeks with two off days and I do a lot of dog walking on non running days, but I think I have accepted the lesser mileage.  For one thing, I’ve definitely gotten much faster.  I don’t say this from a bragging point but from a point of declaring that speedwork , works.  And real speedwork.   I did a pretty wimpy version of speedwork before where I kept it in my comfort zone.  The runs now are way, way out of my comfort zone and I actually get nervous for some of them and I don’t really like some of them.  But when I get home from a hard track session I feel pretty darn good.

The other thing is that I think this is a smarter way to run for the long term.  It helps keep up the body systems that allow for fast running, that as we age are not going to stick around if not used.  The lower mileage is better for longevity in this sport.  It has been tough to do what I know is the right thing.  I tossed out any mileage tracking; it really doesn’t mean anything and I never look back at it…..and most importantly NO ONE CARES how much I run.  

I took up body pump classes for strength training this year.   Those, yoga, and lower miles are what I credit for making it all year staying healthy.   I started strength work last year, but I found the class to be much more effective than doing it on my own, and pushing me and working every muscle group. It’s tricky to schedule around speed sessions because both can leave me sore, but sometimes I just get sore and deal.  (I also started doing epson salt baths for sore muscles this year and am a convert on those as a way to take the edge off really sore muscles).  

This year also gave me hope that I can follow a plan.   Plans never worked for me before because I “modified” them so much, I really was just doing my own thing.  If my little training group doesn’t keep going I know I could get a plan from a book and follow exactly and even do the days I don’t like. Plans are smarter than I am as they add in more rest and do things in a purposeful way.   Plans are the way to go….why did I take me so long to get on board?

So the summary, run less, run faster workouts that can be on the sucky side (aka 400s on the track at 5 am), and do strength training in a class where you feel inclined to do all the difficult things that make muscles say ouch.   And buy epson salts in bulk.   They are super cheap and much more pleasant than ice baths.  

Up next:  3M half marathon, two very important birthdays, Austin marathon…

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