Wednesday, 27 July 2011

#13: It's All Too Much

Weekly update: On being committed...

For the past two weeks, I've been more or less sitting around waiting (and usually sweating) for my research ethics feedback which arrived yesterday. Before I can begin my project, it must receive University ethics approval since it involves human subjects. I now need to make a few minor modifications and revisions before resubmitting it again, and hopefully if all goes well, I will be given the green light to proceed with my study by next week. My participants must self report being highly committed to exercise as well as consider exercise an important and valuable part of their lives. If this sounds like you, let me know!

In terms of running, I am now at 15 days of consecutive running in which time I've covered 253km (that's Toronto to Kingston!). With another 19k planned for this evening and more to come every day thereafter, I don't anticipate having another day off for some time as I am now using Mondays, which used to be a rest day, as a way to do some speed work on the track. Essentially this means:

Sun - Long run (30+k; 2.5+ hrs)
Mon - Speed (10-12k; ~1hr)
Tues – Easy/Recovery (20-24k; 1.5hr)
Wed - Longboat Workout: Tempo or Intervals (~20k; 1.5hr)
Thurs – Easy/Recovery (15-20k; 1.5hr)
Fri – Hills/Strength (10-15k; ~1hr)
Sat – Easy/Recovery (12-16k; 1.5hr)

Totals - ~115-140k; 10.5hrs

After the 10k race a few weeks back (a 35:56 PB!), I needed to get a long run in on Monday (28k) which was windy and wild to begin, featured a 15min hurricane in the middle and then ended with the standard hot and humid. Tuesday was easy and quite unexpectedly so was Wed, since we got off easy with a short interval workout due to the heat. Thursday was almost the hottest day ever in Toronto (it only reached 37.8! and missed the record of 38.3) and despite this, I managed to sneak in a 10k around 10pm which was still unbearable. Sunday featured the longest run of the training season thus far at 33k, which although technically was the first run of the present training week, it happened to cap off a 7 day period that amounted to 140km in total, which is almost the maximum I had hoped to attain during the entire cycle. This week (the 3rd of official marathon training) will be around 120k and so should the 4th week before having a 'down' week in which total mileage will decrease to about 100k. So far I am feeling pretty good in spite of the horrendously hot and humid week we had in Toronto last week (every day was 30+ degrees and felt like 40+!). I will definitely be looking forward to some cooler temperatures this week and next. I won't be racing again for a few weeks which might actually prove to be a necessary break since it seems like I was racing every other weekend which can be overwhelming at times. The next race is scheduled for August 14th (the Acura 10-miler (16k)) and then the Simcoe Shores Relay the weekend after (20/21 August) which I am really excited about.

Needless to say, I love running! There is little I look forward to more than my daily run and so even with 7 days of scheduled training, I am confident in saying that I fully enjoy what I am doing. I can see now that I (and others like me) must be quite unique in this capacity. Most people do not have the time to commit to this level of training and even more lack the dedication and motivation. Even I need to ask myself on occasion why it is I am doing this. I wish I could answer with "money, rewards, sponsorship, glory, fame, the Olympics!" but in the end I am only doing it for myself which I realize sounds a bit nutty. In fact, I'm not sure my body agrees with what I'm doing either as I occasionally feel out of sorts, fatigued, and at times like I'm 'breaking down.' However, I'm absolutely sure this is normal (isn’t it?!).

If there was ever a conflict of interest to address (an ethical consideration) in terms of my own research here at U of T, I would have to admit that my current project is essentially aimed at trying to understand my own personal behaviours and those like me, who are equally crazy in their commitment to exercise (which to me is not really exercise, but sport!). I certainly hope that my research will allow us to better understand the why and how some people can become so involved in (positive) health behaviours such as physical activity, exercise and sport, and also how these behaviours are maintained over time. Whereas the average Canadian probably hasn't run 10 consecutive or 100 accumulated kilometres in his/her lifetime, I do this on a daily and weekly basis! Whether this is inherently a positive and 'healthy' decision is also debatable. I will be the first to admit there are certainly times when my personal behaviours border on excessive, obsessive and compulsive. However, on the most part, running adds significant meaning and value to my life and causes very few (if any) problems and for this reason, I will never stop...

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