Thursday, May 17, 2007

Note to Beginners: Learn to recognize when less is more

At 47 years old, I've been running off and on for more than 35 years, and been what I would consider a serious marathoner for the last 10 years. Last month, I resumed running after a 2 month self-imposed layoff from an injury, and since starting back running, it has been sporadic at best these last 30 days mainly due to family and business commitments. Yesterday I finally got a break and went out and ran a fairly solid 5+ mile run. This morning, I got up and swam 1600m around 6:30, came home, and since we are having nice weather in Houston today, decided to run a 7.5 mile route I have at lunch. I was really looking forward to it because our low humidity days are few and far between (65% right now, and yes for those of you in dry areas, that is LOW for us). As excited as I was to get out, I could tell in the first 100 yards or so that my body just didn't have it today. As I approached my first half-mile point, it wasn't getting any better. That is when I came to a literal and figurative cross-roads. There is an intersection where if I go right, I do my 7.5 mile route. If I go left, I do 3.0 miles. 10-20 years ago, I would have been stupid and stubborn and done the 7.5 miles, no matter what. Today, I turned left and did the 3.0 mile run and that was pretty much all I had in me. One of my personal sayings is "Train to run another day." People get so caught up with "well, I had planned to run x number of miles today, and if I don't, it will throw my schedule off." I have learned it is important to be consistent, and at the same time, flexible. Therefore, learn to be consistently flexible. I may very well head out the door tomorrow to do 7.5 miles again and feel incredible, but I also might have a repeat performance of today. If you are a beginner, accept that there will be great, good, fair and poor days, and you'll do fine.

1 comment:

scott keeps running said...

that's very good advice - i'm finding that out the hard way as i train for my first marathon. for me it's really hard to balance the "listen to your body and rest" versus the "if you don't push yourself you'll never get to 26.2." there seems to be a fine line there that will take me a while to figure out. but it's been fun!