Friday, December 01, 2006

Ups and Downs

The weather seems to change every day, yesterday we had storms and flooding, today it’s nice and nearly wind still, and the weekend is going to be atrocious again, apparently. This running in bad weather thingy that I have going will be continuing for some time yet, I seems.

Yesterday’s conditions were truly brutal. I ran 7 miles, the rain came down nearly horizontally, and the trees made noises that I would have preferred not to hear. I changed my planned route after a few miles, because my original loop would have had me running two or three miles in a completely exposed area, and I settled for a more sheltered road. It was still bad, and about 5 people at work asked me rather incredulously “you didn’t run today, did you?”. Tellingly, Niamh didn’t say anything though. I guess she’s resigned by now.

Today’s run was in marked contrast to that, the weather was positively benign, and the few raindrops I felt only served the purpose of keeping my sequence alive. I got stopped by one tourist (American, judging from the accent) who had completely lost his way; the main Killorglin to Killarney road was closed due to flooding and he had gotten completely lost on the back roads. I gave him directions, and hope he managed to find the way. Later on I literally stumbled across a barrier of my own, a tree had fallen right across the road, and I do mean right across the road. I had to climb through the branches to be able to continue on my journey. That was the only incident though; I didn’t encounter any dogs, fast cars or high winds for the rest of the run.

Andrew left a comment on my last post that had me thinking a bit (which I presume was his intention). Basically he suggested (or at least I think he did) I drop all fancy things like hills, strides and tempo and just increase my mileage up to 100 miles. He also sounded a bit critical of my present mileage base? Well, Andrew, the main reason why I hesitate to go to 100 miles is the fact that I’m afraid it would leave me injured. I have only been running for 2.5 years, and the first year consisted of nothing but 1 or 2 runs per week. I only took up running seriously about 18 months ago when I started training for my fall 2005 marathon. On my last training cycle I cranked up my max mileage from 55 to 70 miles. This time round I intend to go a bit further, maybe 80 or 85 miles, I’ll play it by ear. I don’t want to be impatient and jump to a mileage that my body might not be able to handle yet. I don’t deny that high mileage would improve me as a runner (in fact, I wholeheartedly subscribe to that theory), I just try to turn the dial in a more restrained manner. If this training cycle goes well, I might try 100 mpw next time round.

30 Nov: 7 miles, 1:00, 8:34 pace, avg. HR 153, very bad weather
1 Dec: 8.5 miles, 1:12, 8:28 pace, avg. HR 157, hilly

Mileage for November: 110

Consecutive days in the rain: 18


  1. Yes on the thinking. No on the criticism. You had merely mentioned "the jump" to high mileage and I wanted to reply.

    80 mpw sounds wonderful. My suggestion was to do this in such a way that makes the mileage the true goal, not speed, or strides etc. These have its season but sometimes the 'fun' stuff starts to creep in and take over at the expense of hitting the mileage number. Not saying it happens to you, just in general I guess.

    Which leads me to the method of "hitting" the mileage number. I was suggesting that a plan that had unique mileage requirements for each day (15 / 10 / 15 / 12 etc.) is the Lydiard way of working around the calendar. In this manner, you're always sure of running the same mileage week after week without undue strain or going stale, good balance, and consistency.

    Sorry I sounded critical. I should have re-read what I typed.

  2. It's always good to have someone help your thinking. You know what is best for you and an injury is not good for anyone

  3. I often hear "high mileage" and "injury" in the same breath, but I don't believe it's necessarily a cause and effect relationship. In my experience injuries don't strike like a bolt of lightning, leaving a runner helpless and crawling once they cross some predetermined limit of "safe" miles into uncharted territory. Injuries for me have generally crept up on me slowly, usually after a series of mistakes involving either not enough recovery or bad choices in how I distribute my running over the course of weeks or months. In my opinion stretching (or not), warming up/cooling down (or not), stress, sleep and other factors outside of running can all play a role in running injuries well beyond the miles alone.

    My point: To fear adding miles to avoid injury is selling your ability to effectively manage your running short, and you've shown through your last training cycle that you can effectively manage your running and see great results.

  4. I am not a proponent of high miles equal injury, I love high miles. But my problem is finding time for those. Although I had plenty of 100M weeks, it was paid by 4 hr os sleep for weeks and not seeing much of kids (or, when seeing - not being in a "right" form for them, even more so for my husband). Will I do it again? Yes, but will need to plan and think even more. My point is - don't be scared, but be realistic.

  5. I like the concept of "turning the dial". That's a good way to put it. I'm thinking my miles are pretty high at 35-45. After that, at my slow pace, it very much becomes a question of time.

    There was quite a discussion as I approached marathon training as to whether a three hour training run would serve me or hurt me. Some said it was like running a marathon as training. In the end, I think it served me - if I'm going to be out there for 5-6 hours, then I've got to put times like that in on the training cycle. Okay, I'm rambling here, I'll stop!

  6. Will we ever hear of a day when you decide to pass on a run due to weather? When hell freezes over? :)

  7. I was just wondering how it is about running in those bad conditions. It makes me think that humid and hot aren´t that bad.

  8. It has not rained for 18 way. If so, that's reason enough to move to Nova Scotia. That's just not fair.

    I think that running upwards to 100 miles per week would be fine...if I could find time. Running does take time - and me and most other humans have to work and spend a bit of time with the kids and spouse. It's a huge committment...not to mention the increased risk of injury. I'm sure you can do whatever you put your mind to!