About two weeks ago I sat down and wrote out a plan for my half marathon training for the spring and summer. Most of that plan was based on a little bit of frustration that I’d been sick and hadn’t been running all that much this year. The plan kicked into effect one week ago today, with “Act One” taking the form of three solid weeks of strength-building training: in other words, the plan is to run every day for three weeks, fatigue my poor muscles, and build up both a “main floor” and a running habit.
Main floor, you ask? Ah, well, here comes the metaphor. See, training (in many things) is like a complex construction project, such as say, building a house. A bunch of guy show up, dig a big hole, use a port-o-toilet near the curb, and take inexplicably long lunch breaks. Or… well, maybe not exactly like that.
The metaphor that a lot of the folks I run with like to use is a more abstract version of building a house. You start with a foundation (the aerobic and endurance training) your build a main floor (the strength training) then a second floor (the distance training) and cap it all off with a roof (the speed training.) Many of those same folks seem to have taken the metaphor a little further, spending a heck of a lot of money decorating their metaphorical house with color-coordinated Running Room branded gear, but that’s a different sort of post altogether.
Act One, as I’ve dubbed it, is a kind of strength training for me. I’ve been running for a little more than four years. Going out for a casual six or eight kilometer run is, well… it’s just typical Sunday morning jaunt. I’m fairly much conditioned to that distance now. I did about seven kilometers this morning, and apart from the fact my feet were sopping wet from the slushy, new-fallen snow, it was not a big strain.
Running every day — days for which I’m eight for eight, by the way — is a kind of strength training. The body needs a day or so to recover from exercise, I’ve been told. These little clinics I keep enrolling in stress that point to no end: recovery, recovery, recovery! Take a few days to let your body heal, we’re told over and over. Or, that would be true if you’re still working on the so-called metaphorical basement of your metaphorical house.
What I’m feeling now, eight days in, is a heck of a lot of soreness. Not pain. Soreness. My legs don’t hurt. They just are telling me to take a day off. And I’m not going to listen… at least for another two weeks.
The result has been a little surreal actually. At about day five I had nearly crashed: it was all the energy I could muster to go out for my evening run. Day six? The same. But then yesterday, sore as I was, I just went out and ran. And ran. And ran. And did a little extra distance. When I checked my watch at home, my average pace was strong. Then I went out for a nearly-seven kilometer dash this morning, leading the pack for most of the way and drawing a few accusatory comments from other who figured I must have had the week off or something to be moving so quick. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I actually hadn’t had a break in that long.
I’m expecting a few more lulls. I’m expecting another near crash, maybe later this week or early next. But for now, the plan is working and Act One is playing out just as well as — if not better than — I’d expected.