|The Longest Day Ekiden Relay start. Friday June 20th. Leslie St. Spit. Photo: A Thuss.|
Before I begin, I'd just like to thank ALL the runners, volunteers and supporters who came out to make 'The Longest Day Ekiden Relay' a success. It's great to see the Toronto running community come together and celebrate our collective commitment, competitive spirit and camaraderie. Complete results can be found here.
#STWM Marathon Training Part I: A Need for Speed
Training for STWM is now officially underway (technically it began several weeks ago with continued recovery and "base building") but before logging the big miles and hammering long intervals to prepare us for racing 42.2, Coach Campbell has us (The Black Lungs) do a four week "speed phase" with fewer Ks and faster (funner?) shorter intervals and hill workouts.
As an overview, our weekly mileage remains steady around 100-120K with a single speed session on Thursdays, a weekly long run (21-27K) on Sundays, and lots of easy and aerobic (i.e. auto-pilot) runs with occasional striders added to the end.
As an added "treat", many of the Lungs are also either running the Pride 5K this Saturday (that may or may not be exactly 5K, but which is nonetheless a fantastic event with great post-race refreshments) or the Canada Day 5K in Burlington a few days later. These efforts are meant to both test our current fitness and speed, as well as develop it further. It's also a great excuse to race a shorter summer race and enjoy the team aspect of running as a group. Of course, the post race beers and BBQ help quite a bit too!
From a more personal perspective, I am not in the best head space right now when it comes to running. I'm in a bit of a rut as I continue to deal with a right leg (hip, groin, not exactly sure what) issue that is manageable most of the time, but occasionally a pain in the ass (quite literally in fact). Add to this a more recent issue acclimatizing to the heat and humidity (combined with low iron levels) and I find myself more fatigued than I should be and unable to hit the paces I want too or run comfortably for very long. Luckily, it is 'early' in the build and I am very much hoping to "run through" these issues and arrive on the other side, better and faster than before.
This time last year things were looking very different as my training was going almost perfectly to plan. I was injury free and about to break 16 min in a 5K for the first (and to date, only) time. This I did at the Pride 5K (2013) where I ran 15:53, good for third overall and was over the moon.
Just today I wrote a short piece for the (Canadian Running) magazine about our self-perceptions (of who we are now and who we want to be in the future) and how we can 'use' these to our benefit. A big impetus for that was where I'm currently at. As runners we are always looking forward and hoping to continue to improve. It is therefore very challenging (mentally more than anything) when weeks, months and perhaps years later, you are not only NOT moving forward, but feeling as if you're going in reverse.
I've never been one to use excuses for failure or sub-par performances, but rather pride myself on always remaining positive and taking control of my circumstances. Now more than ever, I must consider the long term goals I have set for myself (i.e. running well at STWM) and make the changes that will set me up for achieving them. That is likely to mean acknowledging and accepting this current setback and doing what is necessary to get through it.
We all struggle from time to time. Runners know and experience this perhaps more so than many others. It's how we respond to our struggles and overcome them that make us the better people and better runners we strive to be.