Monday, June 7, 2010

The Epiphany

I have a friend who used to have an epiphany every couple days. Every time he thought of something new or heard a differing opinion, he claimed he had had an epiphany. In general, these realizations were not epiphanies and were quite mundane. "You mean, Apple-Z allows me to undo what I just did on the computer?!?!!?" So, in the spirit of epiphanies, here's my post-Pineland epiphany, or perhaps it's three:

1. Strength. I can't recall the number of times that I've vowed to do actual strength work. I do know that whatever the actual number is is the exact number of times I've failed. I even know the reason for my failings. It's a point I've discussed with Mindy (who is on the comeback trail...again!!!), many times. Doing non-running exercises makes me feel injured. When I'm healthy enough to run, I just want to run. And, I'm not go to belabor this point, but based on how my body reacted at Pineland, I need to build up my already impressive (read: not actually impressive) muscles. Running alone isn't getting it done. I've mentally sketched out a routine that I'm going to do three times a week. I mean it this time. I hope...

There is one important caveat to this epiphany: I will not do any upper body work with a cracked rib. This caveat is significant because, well, I do indeed have a cracked rib. Or at least, I'm 96% certain I do. Last Thursday, I was changing a flat tire on my car, when I felt a pop while trying to loosen one of the lug nuts. It's on my right side, near my arm pit. It hurts, especially when I take a deep breath or do any number of other movements or tasks I've yet to discover. Luckily, our ibuprofen stores are full stocked...not for long.

2. Nutrition. This epiphany isn't directly related to Pineland as it's been something I've been thinking about for quite some time. I have only a remedial knowledge of nutrition. For example, I know that I everything I eat shouldn't be deep fried. Beyond that, it's a bit of a crap shoot. I just need to make a better connection with the output from the food that goes in. My diet is fairly healthy now, but not healthy enough to fuel an athlete. If you can't be an athlete, at least eat like one!

3. Training. In short, I need to step it up. My training is fine for a guy just trying to be in reasonable shape. I've accomplished that, but that's really not good enough. Don't look for any triple digit weeks, but it's time for a change. When I started running again in late 2007 after a ten year hiatus, I had hoped to be able to run comfortably for an hour. I managed that and more. In 2008, I wanted to see if I could run a whole year without any major injuries. I not only accomplished that goal, but I also completed my first marathon. Last year, I tried to do to much without adequate recovery and learned a lot. To this point in 2010, I'm averaging 28 miles per week. That's it. And, I may do one hard workout or race per week. That equation is not going to add up to the results I want.

Now, I promise not to overdo it. If, say, I don't know, for example, I have a cracked rib. Well, in that case, I'll back off a little bit. I'll also be paying close attention to my body after races. I will not keep pushing like I did following my 50k at Pineland last year. And, most importantly, I'm going to be really relaxed with my training. If I feel good, I might go longer or harder. If I don't feel so good, I won't. I'll probably do a few race specific workouts here and there, e.g. for Mt. Washington or the Bradbury Mountain Breaker, but I really just want to build up my strength. The 5k's and short races are really fun, but I can do reasonably well in those without training too seriously. If I focus on strength, however, I believe those results can get even better. But, more importantly, my running as a whole will improve. It's a theory anyway.

Now, where's that ibuprofen?


pathfinder said...

All great thoughts Ryan, I agree with the upper body and core strength and have dabbled in that area with not enough drive or limited results.
The nutrition is a huge problem for me as I have too many bad favorite foods. Training is a tough area also....when I trained hard, I ran pretty darn good times for my age but I was also tired, injured and antisocial (family related) all the time.....not a good balance for me. I have been struggling to find a happy medium between training and working out hard ...and having fun .... it is funny how the two don't mix as well as we would like.

Good luck with your plan, I hope it brings you the results you crave.

Jamie said...

Very good thoughts. Consider cross training on a regular basis to work different muscle groups. You know... mountain bike!

Blaine Moore said...

Strength Work: I recommend doing a lot of pushups. They are easy to fit into your schedule and work a lot of muscles at once. I followed the program in Steve Speirs' book 7 Weeks to 100 Pushups. It follows a nice progression and the workouts rarely took more than 10 or 15 minutes 3 times a week. Obviously you'll want to branch out a bit eventually but that gives you a good base to work off of. You'll probably want to wait until your rib heals too.

Nutrition: I recommend Eat Smart Play Hard - great primer with athletic specific eating in mind. I don't know when I'll see you again but I'll try to remember to grab it this morning and hand it off to somebody that might be running at your place this weekend if you want to borrow my copy.

middle.professor said...

Just Run Baby.

vja said...

I always wish I could make myself do something other than run, because it seems like it is good for running... But I don't like it, so I don't do it!

I'm interested to see how you make out and how it affects the running.

CHRIS J. DUNN said...

I was actually hoping you'd get slower.

sn0m8n said...

Glad I'm not the only one who hates non-running stuff.

Jeff - Is that anything like "Drill, Baby, Drill"?

Chris - That's all I needed to hear. I'm going to be so fast in the first mile of every race, it's going to take you 1.5 miles to catch me!

mindy said...

I like Blaine's 100 pushup idea. I would also recommend Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook. And then I have two words for you: road bike.

sn0m8n said...

Road bike? One word: diapers.