Math has never been at the top (or even close to the top) of my “favorite school subject” list. EVER. I used to be pretty good at it, earning easy “A’s” back in the days of pre algebra and geometry. And then I hit the dreaded torture known as calculus, and it was all downhill from there. Don’t even get me started on last year’s statistics class. I thought stats was all about fun things, like “what percentage of my blog readers would rather be running than reading blogs right now, but must control their obsession and thus if they can’t be running, they’ll read about running instead?” (my guess: 85%). I was very misinformed. Statistics class was a blur of what I am still convinced was completely made up numbers. And my “hip, young” professor (a PhD, the same age as me, made me feel pretty lame) tried to relate statistics to the real world using football. Specifically, college football, which only confused me even more.
Numbers have never really been my thing, until I started this marathon training cycle. Now I look forward to the numbers. Each mile added to the scoreboard (aka dailymile), each second off of my time, each beat per minute my heart rate drops. What percentage is my weekly mileage increasing by? It’s so exciting. And I’m such a running numbers nerd. Perhaps it because I’m still a relatively new runner, but I get such a high off of knowing “oh yeah, I just ran an EASY 8 miles, no biggie”. I still remember clear as day when one mile was stretch. The numbers motivate me to run even faster and further.
But as excited as I am , I’m finding myself a bit nervous. Hesitant. I know I’ve compared marathon training to relationships before (say it with me now in your best 8 year old voice: “if you love it so much why don’t you marry it?”) but I’m going to do it again. Have you ever entered a new relationship, and everything was going SO well you couldn’t help but think “okay, so what am I missing? This is too good to be true!” Will I get an overuse injury? (Does he have a crazy ex girlfriend)? Am I going to burn out mentally? (Does she have 35 cats living in her apartment)? Basically, I’m 3 weeks into training, and everything is going SO WELL I can’t help but wonder if my body can handle it.
As I’ve mentioned probably a million times in here already, I’ve never run a 100 mile month. That’s right, I’ve run 4 full marathons and never, ever, not once, put in a 100 mile training month. Believe me…I’m not bragging. As a result of such half a$$ed training, I ended up walking the majority of the second half of all 4 marathons, and somehow managed to eek out my PR of a 4:37 in the first one (beginners luck). I’ve also never done a training run past 18 miles. And I didn’t even run that entire time, I believe that was back in my Galloway days. So basically, Saturday’s training run of 15.03 miles of never stopping to walk (ok we paused about 3 seconds at an intersection) is a record for me. And I felt fantastic. Legs were a little tired, but I certainly could have kept going.
Let’s take a look at a beautiful microsoft paintbrush/cut and paste from dailymile rendering of this year’s training.
As you can see, it hasn’t gone so well. In fact I only hit 500 running miles for the year YESTERDAY. With only 47 days left in 2010. It has been quite the adventure though.
So what am I scared of ? The unknown. Can my body handle 100+ miles a month? How about 4 in a row (because that’s where I’m currently headed). Am I built for distance running? Are my legs going to protest and give up on me?
Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I proceed with caution. Stick to the training plan. Obey my cross training and rest days. Ice. Glucosamine chondroitin. Eat well, sleep well, repeat.
So I ask of my readers, what do YOU do to prevent physical burnout? Overuse injuries? How do you pamper your body after many long hard miles? I’d love to hear your suggestions!