Run Less, Run Faster Week 2: Practicing Resilience

Week two of kinda-sorta-but-not-really following Run Less, Run Faster contained one run that made me fantasize about breaking 2 hours at the Walnut Creek half in a couple of weeks, one run that made me want to quit trying to run hard forever, and a track workout that managed to be satisfying despite being a bit of a disaster, as I suspect all of my track workouts will be.

Training with a plan and time goals can go south for me fast — the more I miss, the more I miss, and that can make an activity I love into one that feels burdensome and stressful. But I think pushing and working and still missing the mark is an important part of what I’m doing right now. I mean, I’m the one who called it “learning how to hurt,” not “learning how to run the pace that is already as comfortable as an old flannel sheet.”

Here’s week two:

Monday: 1400 yards of swimming, focusing on breathing every other stroke (is that even what I mean? is a stroke one arm or the whole cycle? I mean breathing every other time my right arm is up). When this goes well for me, it feels more streamlined than my normal stroke; when it goes poorly, I feel like my lungs might explode. I’m working on making it go well.

Tuesday: Track time with Angela! I am still not over being able to run to the track from my house in five minutes; in fact, if anything, I have to remind myself to keep warming up once I get there. Goal was: 1200 (5:59), 1000 (4:56), 800 (3:55), 600 (2:55), 400 (1:56), 200 (:58). Actual: 1200 (which read as .79 on my Nike+) in 6:01, 1000 in 5:02, 800 in 4:01, 600 in 2:57, 400 in 1:59, 200 in :58. Hey, I hit the last one!

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles at mid-tempo (8:56 per RLRF), 1 mile easy, 2 miles at mid-tempo, 1 mile easy.The first 2 “on” miles were 8:36 and 8:27 (downhill, even more downhill) and the second 2 were 8:58 and 8:39 (part uphill, mostly flat). The “easy” mile in the middle came as I ran up JFK in Golden Gate Park, which is not the biggest hill in the world or anything (150 or so feet over 1 mile) but I had little interest in trying to keep tempo pace up it and was just glad I could get my pace back down once it was over, though I didn’t intend to take that last mile quite so fast. This was a satisfying run, and I took no small pleasure in my average pace being 9:09 — the magic number!

Friday: “3.5 miles” (35 minutes) of pool-running

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Goal: 10 miles at HMP+20 (9:29-9:40). Actual: 10 miles at 9:41 average. This run made me want to retire from running: two miles downhill (during which my lower legs felt really tight), two miles into a headwind along the ocean, 2.75 interminable miles of climbing (~450 feet, I know, boo-hoo, I live in San Francisco, I should be able to deal), a mile with a lot of stoplights at the top of the hill, a reasonably fun downhill mile, and the rest of the mileage in Golden Gate Park dodging puddles and cars and waiting for my watch to show “10.” I was reasonably on pace, if a little far toward the slower end of the window, through the first five miles, but in retrospect, I think the headwind took more out of me than I realized. During the climbing section, as I watched my pace creep into the 9:40s, I felt annoyed with myself for (what I was sure was) wasting $100 to run yet another 2:07:xx at Walnut Creek. But honestly? That headwind could happen during the long Great Highway out-and-back at Kaiser; Walnut Creek has a 300-foot 3-mile uphill section smack in the middle. Learning how to hurt proooooobably involves dealing with some wind and hills, y’know? So I hated this, but I needed this.

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