Kelly the Culinarian: Speed v. Distance: A Classic Training Conundrum

Monday, January 12, 2015

Speed v. Distance: A Classic Training Conundrum

Side story: When I was a newspaper reporter, I wrote a story involving local ordinances and called it a conundrum, which means a challenging problem or obstacle. When it was published, a local official called me and chastised me up one side and down the other for the use of the word. He told me he had to look up the word and it said a problem without a solution. He never spoke to me again. I called it conundrum gate '08.

Anywho, I've been thinking a lot about my marathon training, or lack thereof. I really planned to hunker down and follow a marathon training plan to a T. Really, I did.  But life happened. When I trained for Circular last year, I followed a very regimented program with redlining, puke-inducing intervals, prescribed long-run paces and soul-crushing tempo runs. I didn't hate it, but the workouts were so complicated I had to write it on a post it to keep it all together.

So this year, I've taken a detour. One of my running buddies once told me he wasn't following a training plan because fundamentally, they're all about gradually ramping up your distance over time while testing your limits on shorter runs to increase your threshold. Much like him, I know I can go the distance. If I had to run a marathon tomorrow, I could. It would suck and I'd be in pain, but I could grind it out.

I know that I benefited from intervals, though, so I'm keeping that on tap. Last year, I'd usually run distance on Sundays mornings, then on Monday morning, run a shorter, exponentially more difficult series of intervals. I liked doing that (in a sick way), so that I was pushing myself on already tired legs. I think it helped with my mental toughness.

The draw back is that double-digit miles are very satisfying. There's nothing I enjoy more than logging at least 10 miles before work, but it's not feasible. Plus, I feel like I need to cut back to focus on quality. I can't run like I'm being chased for five miles, but I can for .5 miles.

So here's to not caring if I run 40 miles or 28.2 in a week. My legs can cover the distance. My feet can take the pain. Now it's time to embrace the pain of training, the discipline of cutting back. All in pursuit of pushing myself to a new PR

3:40 or bust, right?


Unknown said...

That's exactly how I train! I kind of draw a map out of long runs, but I stay flexible for life too. Enjoy your more relaxed training, you'll be happier!

Unknown said...

That story at the beginning is ridiculous. If you had to look up conundrum (and obviously didn't read the entire description) maybe you should check yourself before you wreck yourself dude.

I'm too lazy to run right now.