Aloha Off Season
|February 2, 2013||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
Yesterday was the end of my (forced) off season. Sure, Mondays, and not Saturdays, typically mark the start of almost all official 16 week training plans (yup, I am actually using one of those this time…kind of) but with 18 miles planned for my Saturday Long Run, it feels like yesterday was the last real day for the next four months when I won’t be in marathon training.
While I was sweating it out in spin class (sweating slash dying…word of advice: don’t expect to retain an ounce of cycling fitness if you don’t touch a bike for three months) I was thinking about how I want to say goodbye to my months away from official training. “PEACE OUT, SEE YOU NEVER” was the first thing that came to mind. “GOODBYE F#C@ER YOU WON’T BE MISSED” or simply just flipping off my time being injured were two of the other top candidates.
But then I stepped away from the rage, took a deep breath (actually several deep pants…still on the spin bike) and calmed down a little.
While I was injured, one of the things I did to fill my sidelined days was read and watch all things running. It was a slightly torturous and painful activity when I couldn’t actually run myself, but it helped fuel my desire to get healthy as fast as possible.
One book that I rush shipped to my doorstep was (Jack) Daniels’ Running Formula. While I’ve been familiar with JD (both coach and liquor) for quite some time, it was after watching an interview with Jenn Shelton that I decided to take the plunge and order a copy for myself. In case you’re unfamiliar with Jenn, she holds the record for the fastest female100 mile trail race, she was one of the featured runners in Born to Run
(another book I reread), and she’s an all around work hard/play hard bad ass runner. According to Jenn, her strategy with ultras was to just run a lot. When she decided to chase down a qualifying time for marathon trials, she abandoned her not-plan for a plan: one written by Coach Daniels. As a fellow plan-resistant runner, facing the harsh reality that my lofty goal might actually require some structure, I decided to order the book and see if I prefer to keep my JD on the rocks or the road.
It turns out, Mr. Daniels knows his stuff. And not just stuff about a scientific approach to working hard and running fast. One passage about his thoughts on injuries really hit home for me:
“It’s best to look at setback optimistically; try to view them as career prolongers. As a setback-induced break ends, a runner’s enthusiasm for running is renewed…
Wiser, better rested, and more determined, the runner is actually in position to have a longer career because of imposed breaks.
Setbacks can be terribly disappointing, but they also have a way of keeping us hungry.
Temporary training stalemates can actually rekindle competitive fires, revitalize worn and tired body parts, and minimize the chance of burnout that occurs more often in other sports.”
While I know you all probably think I spend every day counting down the seconds until my next run, sometimes that’s just not the case. And before I got injured, ‘sometimes’ was most of the times.
Pre-rib injury, I was hungry (ish), but I wasn’t ravenous. I was standing in the kitchen an hour after lunch, eyeing the bin of peanut butter pretzels, thinking “I won’t say no to a handful of these” but not actually needing or craving the sustenance. My attitude toward running was similar, sure, I would take a marathon PR but I wasn’t chasing after it with passion.
I turned into a total wimp about the weather, spending at least an hour each morning delaying that first step out the door into the harsh cold. And “harsh cold” was really just the 30s (and maybe sometimes 40s).
I was frustrated with my workouts. Angry if my paces weren’t where I wanted them to be, not respecting that a training cycle is set up to foster improvement, not to be at goal fitness level from day one.
But now? After an unacceptable number of weeks on the couch?
I’m fucking starving.
I am ecstatic that I can sweat and run again. And (for the most part) I don’t struggle to get out the door or to the gym. I look at each workout as something I get to do and not something I have to do. I’m giddy to be doing speed work and long runs and recovery runs and running with scary fast friends and I even get excited about things like stretching and lifting weights. Or, at least more excited.
As for all of those other lifestyle changes that I know I need to make to nail my goal?
I’m actually fucking starving for them too.
After three straight months of going out nearly every night (my liver hurts just typing that), I’m ready to back off a lot.
You know that feeling you get at the end of a really tough training cycle? When you just can’t wait to get your goal race over so you can throw your running shoes into the back of a closet and spend a lot of quality time bonding with the couch, your DVR and a pint of Ben and Jerrys?
Well, that’s kind of where I’m at with bars and beer and drinking in general. I’ve trained really hard for the last three months and put myself into burnout territory both physically and mentally.
I’m pumped for a much-needed off season from things that come in a pint glass or with a bouncer at the door.
So last night, I said aloha to one off season.
And this morning, I’m heading out the door to run 18 miles and say aloha to another.
Happy long running and racing to everyone who is braving the cold to get some quality miles in this am. Stay hungry.