Posted by: Drew | October 23, 2008

Inconsistency

Cross-posted on my Living Testimonial at Equivita.com.

As the witching hour draws near, I’m determined not to start droning a “woe is me” song like a Gregorian monk on barbiturates. Instead, I’ll complain about my lack of consistency in the hopes that I will shame myself into doing better.

In the last few weeks, I’ve had some good high points (most miles run at one time: 17.5; most miles run in one week: 34), and some maddening low points (nine runs in the now 22 complete days of October, only one of which was more than six miles). I’ve been sick, I’ve been healthy, I’ve been injured. Damn it, I’ve been everything but consistent. The pattern is incredibly frustrating, all the more so in that I realize what I’m doing and still do nothing to fix my situation.

After bouts of pitiful time off, I’ll smartly set out for a four to six mile run, not overextending things. My legs will feel tight, I’ll get pissy, and by the time I’m home I’m swearing at every rock on the sidewalk with complete lack of sanity. The next day, I wake up intent on repeating the process, knowing full well that this run will be better than the preceding. But I cannot get the stiffness and frustration out of my mind, and I tell myself I’ll run every other day. The next day, I intend to go out and run eight easy, but because I haven’t gotten into any pattern of regular pavement pounding, it starts to feel “bad” too soon, and I cut things short. Four again. If it weren’t for the mind numbing number of three mile runs I did all spring and summer, I’d hate the number four more than anything right now.

And then out of nowhere comes that wonderful week I had starting October 6. 6 miles / Softball / 6 miles / Rest x 2 / 4 miles / 17.5 miles. Finally forcing myself out of bed early that Sunday morning, I was out enjoying the cooler weather for over three hours.

Running isn’t always fun. There are some days, be they three mile or fifteen mile runs, that are very enjoyable. And there are some days where every step is a chore. I let the ugly steps cloud my judgement too much. I know that every minute spent running is helping me in some way, I really do. But lately it seems like the knowing isn’t enough.

I think I made an unwise (for me) choice when I set my gold medal goal for this race as finishing. I’m not afraid of the hurt I’m going to endure during and after the race, but the inconsistency of my training because I know finishing is not enough of a challenge for my body has been troubling me more than anything. In my mind I see myself running consistently 5-6 days per week, 30-40 miles per week. And in reality I run 2-4 days per week, 10-30 miles per week. The variability, with little regard for the fair plan I’d established, is shameful to me.

So it is in conclusion, that I submit the following plan for myself for the next four days, including today. 4 miles today, 7 miles Friday, 4 miles Saturday, and 17+ on Sunday. That would be the best four day stretch in my young running career, and I feel it’s still well within the bounds of safety.

The last time I ran four days consecutively? June 18-21.

I’d say wish me luck, but that sounds too much like I’m leaving room for failure. So more appropriately, stop back in a few days and see how much I rocked it.

**Update**

  • Day 1 – 4.3 miles in 42:39
  • Day 2 – 7.45 miles in 1:11:08 in a downpour
  • Day 3 – 4 miles in 37:08
  • Day 4 – 18 miles in 3:12:32
  • Day 5(!) – 4 miles in 39:16
  • Day 6(!!) – 7.2 miles in 1:16:10
  • Day 7(!!!) – 4 miles in 41:56

7 days in a row, a new personal record.  I took off yesterday (the 30th), but I’ll be back out there in a few hours for some more fun.

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Responses

  1. I’m watching bro. You will do this. Of all the people running the monkey, I’m pulling for you to gut it out.

    Today was a good go. Tomorrow will be too.

    KEEP RUNNING.

    Q

  2. Q: Thanks, man. This race means different things to me on different days. Your recount of your first was touching, and reminded me of some things that I’ve not kept in my heart while running in a few months.

  3. Faith and discipline, bro. The faith in your ability to run, and the discipline to see it through. There is no luck, only faith and discipline!!!

    You got this.

  4. Run, Harris, Run!

  5. “Ann”: I can’t wait to do this race and have everyone there cheering. I can’t decide if this is the dumbest or most awesome thing I’ve ever done.

    Probably both.

  6. I wasn’t having an issue with consistency until last week when life got in the way. Sometimes you just can’t do the runs when you’re supposed to. Now, if you’re an elite runner, this is a problem because that’s basically your bread and butter. However, for those of us who are not winning any Olympian contests and are merely trying to keep the pounds off and compete a little bit, lack of consistency is not the worst thing in the world.

    I figure, as long as we continue to go back out there and attempt to maintain some sort of program, we’ll be fine. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  7. I’m very impressed with how much you’ve accomplished over the last couple of weeks, partner. 2009 is going to be a *huge* year for you as a runner.

  8. Guinness74: Good points. That’s what I was telling myself, too. But then it got to the point where I could hear the monkeys down in Nashville chuckling from all the way up here.

    Dragon76: Thanks, partner! Congrats on your recent marathon. The Monkey should be a walk in the park, now. 🙂


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