Running is all a numbers game if you let it get to you.
What is my pace?
How many miles can I get in today?
How much time to I have to run today?
How many weeks do I still have left in my training plan?
On and on it goes if you let it get to you.
I will admit, that sometimes I let it get to me. But often, I just go with the flow. It’s funny, sometimes I get so caught up in the numbers and sometimes I am clueless. Like when I’m out for a run, I do admit that I am pace driven. This is not a bad thing because usually I am saying to my running partner that we need to slow down. When you train to run faster by running your many miles slower, it can be a struggle to keep the pace slower. And, again, it’s not that I’m fast. It’s just that most of my runs are 10:40 or slower. Last week, I had a few that were at 11:30. It was nice, but I had to be conscious of my pace as it was creeping up.
For example, I was going about my training acting as if the New York City Marathon was some far off distant race. Then, bam, someone posts something showing that it is only a month away.
How did that happen?
Where did the time go?
My friends are all running their last long runs of 18 or 20 miles. Then I realize that the longest that I’ve run is 16 for my long run. It sounds bad. It sounds like I’m not getting properly prepared. Part of me starts to panic. Then I remember that I hate those long runs. I don’t mean hate those long runs like every runner training for a marathon hates/dreads running them. I mean, I hate running them because for me, mentally, they don’t build me up but usually tear me down. These runs do not leave me feeling prepared for my marathon. They leave me wondering what I am doing. So I opt to train without them if possible. Last year I did one 18 miler before Marine Corps and that was it.
Now just because I am not running three 18 to 20 mile runs does not mean that I am going into NY unprepared. It does not mean that I’ve been slacking on my running because shockingly I haven’t been even though I thought that I really was. The truth lies in the numbers. Last month I ran 145 miles. What does piss me off is that there was a day that I missed a 5 mile recovery run due to not enough hours in the day to do it. I would have been at a very impressive 150, but I will settle for the 145 if I must.
I was talking to a friend today about my running on tired legs and this is why I don’t do those dreaded 18 plus mile training runs. I’m certainly getting the miles in. I’m certainly training my body and legs to keep going when they don’t feel like it, but I’m doing it the way that works for me. Usually my training plan will call for me to do a 6 to 8 mile cutdown followed the next day with a longer slower paced run of 10 to 16 miles depending on the week. This works for me.
I admit that I do have the luxury of doing this type of training plan because I do have the ability to run more days a week than some. I know those who have to fit their training plan into a 3 to 4 day running schedule. I would much rather run 5 to 6 days during a week.
The key to knowing what training plan will work for you is to know what you will need both mentally and physically. Sometimes it is trial and error, but once you find the right fit it’s like finding the right running shoe and there is no going back.
So now, I’m faced with the realization that the marathon is less than a month away. The funny thing is that before I get there I have one other big task to do next weekend.
It’s Hat Trick Time again baby.
We’ll talk more about that tomorrow though:)
Do you run by the numbers?
When in a time crunch, I rather do an 18 miler one day than running two – six times a week.