Saturday, August 06, 2005


Sorry. My motivation has hit an all-time low and I'm not even really certain if I want to be a competitive runner any more. I know for sure that I want to run forever, because it feels good and it makes things a lot easier. But recently, I've shown myself that I can't keep focus on it. And there is no point in being completely focused on competition if I don't have the brain power to back it up. It will only make me frustrated (as it has in the past.)

I know for certain that this winter I am not going to run solely straightly through. I am going to be training for a Korteloppet, a 26 kilometer nordic ski race. I want to be happy, and recently I was frightened by the fact that I was really happy simply not running. I had more time for other things that I love, like writing. But the act of running itself is not what I am afraid of doing. It is the accompanying mental addiction to running that detracts from every other area of my life that I am afraid of. When I spend all of my free time simply thinking about how I am going to win a race or be a great marathoner, at the detriment of every other interest of mine, I need to pause and reflect.

And I have reflected in the best possible way this past week and a half. I have lived the life that I would have if I were no obsessed with and addicted to running. I have written more this week than I have written the entire rest of the year combined. And it feels so good, deep inside. Because it is something that I have been afraid of losing, always wondering if it is still there. And it is, which is a relief. And my imagination has grown back to where it once was! This is the one thing that makes my heart leap with joy. I am able to escape to the worlds in my mind like I was once--before I began competitively running.

But, there is part of me that will simply never stop being a competitor. Today I went to watch a triathlon, and I was simply angry that I was not doing what these men were doing... devoting myself to becoming fast. But, what was that again? Why do I want to become fast? I have always told myself (and still believe) that I ran to push the limits and become the best I could be. I can do that in other areas, though. Why did I choose running? Now I wonder why I don't apply my extreme focus into something that I love equally, if not more than running: writing. I know I have something to say, and I know I know how to say it. And I want to say it. And what about school? I could have been valedictorian of my graduating class. And that is something I would love just as much as being regional 2 mile champion. Probably more. And something I am genetically superior in as well.

Which brings me to another issue of mine. Talent. I HAVE NO TALENT FOR RUNNING. And yet I still go all out at it, thinking that my hard work will somehow destroy the talent of those who constantly beat be while doing so much less work than me. It's exhausting. So downed exhausting. And I don't know the answer, though I intend to think about it a lot more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Ended up not running on Monday night, which I regret, but I guess it's not too bad to take a break here and there. Then, I ran an easy 8 miles last night at 8:28 pace. My legs were all funky. I don't know if it is from the new shoes, the days off, or both, but I hope it's temporary. Motivation still ebbing and flowing, feeling kind of crappy right now...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Cross Country Goals

I want to avoid seeing Cross Country as a "secondary" season, because I love cross country training, but I also need to realize my real race is in June. Times are very secondary, especially where I live since 90% of races are on trails, and not a single one on a golf course. So, my 3 main goals are as follows, with the time goal the least important:
  1. 2nd Man on Team
  2. Medal at Finals (top 15.)
  3. 18:20 (based on my recent 10 mile performance, and my mile time on the track, the best I can reasonably hope for is just under 18, but considering courses and weather and unknown occurances, 18:20 is what I will shoot for.)

Finally set in stone!


Been away for a few days, struggling with my typical "late off-season blues." Motivation has been really low the past few days, and I even questioned whether I am meant to be a runner, which is scary, because I know it's what I love. Here's what's new:

Thursday: This is when it began to really hit. I took an extremely easy 7 miler on trails, which wasn't all that bad physically, but left me completely drained.

Friday: A 3 mile really, really easy jog. Just trying to recover from whatever mental issue is bringing me down.
Saturday: Ran a 10 mile road race (1:07:39), which was a mixed bag. My time was pretty slow, BUT there were two bonuses. First, it was the best race I've had since my final track meet, which is a good sign. Plus, I managed to beat one (perhaps two...) of my main local competitors in the final 200 meters of the race, which is an EXCELLENT sign, because it shows that I at least have matched his endurance, and only need to bring my speed up to par. But, my time indicates only a 19:20 to 19:40 5k equivalence time, which is right around a PR, but I would hope to be in much better shape. Oh well, I'll let the season come to me.

Sunday: Motivation hit the lowest of lows, and I finally realized I needed to take an intentional day off (my first since March.) So I did, and I hung out with friends and biked around for a few hours, which felt great.

Now: Haven't yet run today, but I am going to. I'm going camping with a couple friends tonight, but I WILL make time for my run no matter what. Maybe 7-8 miles, easy. I'm gonna try to hit 50 this week, but anything over 45 will be acceptable. Next week, the big six-oh, hopefully.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Rough Day

My recent lack of sleep has caught up with me. I was unable (unwilling) to complete my run yesterday, and took it in for 4 1/2 miles. I think my pacing was also too ambitious.

Also, my calves are still really sore. I am going to wait until Friday to do another run in my waffles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Good day

3:45 p.m.- 4 mile run in XC waffles. Felt AWESOME! My calves are sore, but it is a good sore, and I felt better on my feet than I have in ages.

9:15 p.m.- 6 miles moderate, in trainers, with dad. Still felt quite good. We talked about the upcoming cross country season, it was cool.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Finally a (somewhat) cool night!

Ran a 7 mile progression run. Legs felt a little funky, and a bit off. (Hamstring and calves twinging slightly.) Have decided I cannot handle the before work 6 a.m. runs unless I start getting to bed a lot earlier. They just leave me dead.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hot, hot, hot!

Took a 6 miler in the steamy evening. It was around 85-90 degrees at 9:30 at night. Very slow pace, though I think the heat made the internal effort a lot higher than it would seem.

Intend to do a 3 miler tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Week

Sunday: 6 mi. Easy (+Core and Weights)
Monday: 6 mi. + HILLS
Tuesday: 8 mi. Steady
Wednesday: a.m. 3 mi. p.m. 6 mi. (+Core)
Thursday: 8 mi. Easy
Friday: a.m. 3 mi. Steady
Saturday: 14.2 miles Steady

So, 54.2 miles total plus 2 Core sessions and one weight session. Less supplementary work than intended, but sufficient. I don't have enough time/desire to do thinks that won't directly make me a faster runner. Have learned that doubling is hard on my brain. I either need to go to sleep earlier or wake up later. The latter is not possible (work.) I will work on a solution to the first. 10 mile race next weekend (maybe.)

Goals for next week:
  1. 60 miles
  2. EITHER 1 Hill Session (longer hills) or 10 mile race.
  3. 2 a.m. workouts.
  4. No fast food. AT ALL. PERIOD.

Excellent Long Run

14.2 miles in 119 minutes. (8:22 pace.) Felt great, 6:27 closing mile. Hopefully, this is a good sign.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Relaxed day

Took an easy 3 miler in the cool morning, and passed on an evening run. (Sometimes you need to pay attention to other parts of life than running!) Plus, I already have 40 miles done this week, so with my long run of at least 10 miles tomorrow, I will have my goal of 50 miles reached. Things are going pretty good, but it's been a hot week, which makes things hard.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

8 miles.

Nice, steady 8 miles. Felt good. 6 ran with dad. I NEED new shoes! These Nike Air Pegasuses are killing me!

First Steps Towards Minimalism

I've decided that it is time for me to reassess how I run. Since I've started, I've been a pretty horrible heel-striker, and it is obvious in how I look when I run and in what has become of my body. The injuries that I have had that have basically screwed me over (luckily for short periods of time, so far) I am beginning to realize are a result of my horrible running form. The first was amazingly painful damage to the very bottom of my shin, which spilled over into the front side of my ankle. I can pinpoint the exact moment when this happened, and it was a direct result of landing too hard with my feet. Later, my iliotibial band syndrome caused me a lot more grief (but, again, "only" lasted 5-6 weeks and hasn't recurred.) I have been doing some research, and I have discovered that when heelstriking in high-heel trainers, my feet are searching for feedback from the ground, which completely alters my natural stride and can cause injury to many body parts, not the least of which is my IT Band.

So, I am going to make the jump and transition to training in flats. Emphasis on transition. I am going to place my order for my shoes for Cross Country season within the next couple of days, and I am going to be ordering two pairs. The first (the flats) ate Puma H. Streets. They are marketed as street shoes but are based on racing flats and I have read some very positive reviews. The second pair are Saucony Grid Tangents. These are a "lightweight trainer" that I am going to purchase because I have enjoyed Sauconys that I have had in the past.

The plan is to start out with only one mile per day in the H. Streets the first week, two miles per day the second, three miles per day the third, and then I will assess how they are working for me and whether I want them to become my primary training shoe. The other miles I am going to do in the Grid Tangents. I am also going to try to incorporate some barefoot running into my schedule, but a bit slower and more gently than with the H. Streets. I'll probably a mile or 2 or 3 times a week, until I feel like I can incorporate some more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Bit Worn Out

A.M.- Ran a steady (actually probably too quick) 3 miles.
P.M.- Essentially jogged an easy 6 miles. Legs were tired.

I planned on doing a threshold run tomorrow, but I think I might have to pass this week, depending on how I'm feeling.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Nice run with biker

Ran 8 miles at 8:07 pace on trails with a friend, who biked alongside me. Felt nice.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Did my first hill workout of the summer last night. Ran 1.5 miles out to the hill (about 100m long,) did 12 reps on it, and then ran another 3 miles for a total of about 6 miles. It felt pretty good to finally be doing some harder work. Didn't get very fatigued, though. Wonder what that means...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Easy Run with Dad

6 miles. Nice, steady pace. I felt really strong, especially towards the end which is a good sign.

Last Week and This

Okay, I have completed half of my summer training. Week 6 is done. Here is how it went:
Sunday: 5 miles, 40:00
Monday: 7 miles, fun run 10k w/ aunt + warm-up, 55:00
Tuesday: 8 miles, 1:07:04
Wednesday: 5 miles, 45:00 (really easy on technical trails, prep for Saturday race)
Thursday: 7 miles, 56:00
Friday: 5 miles, 40:00
Saturday: warmup, 10k "race" ~41:00
Total: 43.5 miles, 344 minutes

Goals for next week:
  1. 50 miles
  2. Core x 3
  3. Weights x 3
  4. One double workout

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Trail Race

I ran a "10k" trail race today, and it was probably the worst race experience of my life. The course was short to begin with, and then one of the directors misdirected us to a course we had already run. It went along the Lake Superior shoreline, which was AWFUL! It was all loose cobblestone, and by the time I got to the end of it, I was completely shot. At the point when the race leaders came running down the path, telling us all that we were going the wrong way, I knew that I couldn't make it. I totally dropped off the pace, to maybe 8 minute miles, because I had no real purpose for continuing (and had no idea how much further I had to run.) I ended up finishing in around 41 minutes, which must have been short. I still ended up second in my age group, which was okay, I guess. Very disappointed.

Friday, July 08, 2005

What I've Got So Far

(I was bored at work the other day, so I formulated a plan for after the Cross Country season ends.)

Track Training 2005-6 October 2005 to June 3, 2006 (32 weeks)

Phase One (October 23-December 3)
Goal: Recovery and building to peak mileage.
Plan: Week off after XC season. (3 mi runs every other day.) Then start immediately with 60-90-60-60-90-60-120 schedule. No distances/ paces recorded.

Phase Two (December 4-January 14)
Goal: Maintain peak mileage, add skiing to plan if necessary.
Plan: Start recording mileage on timed runs. Add extra morning runs as often as possible. Ski when necessary. (A few missed runs will not hurt, ski for time if motivation is low.) Strides once per week.

Phase Three (January 15- February 25)
Goal: Continue Base Training, prepare for hard work ahead.
Plan: Start replacing any skiing with running. Morning runs 3-6 days a week. Strides twice per week.

Phase Four, Hill Resistance Training (February 26-March 25)
Goal: Build muscular strength and speed for hard track work to come.
Plan: Use a circuit approach: Warm-up, sprint up the hill, jog at top for about 3 minutes, descend, do a short wind-sprint, repeat for one hour. Effort should be within you. 3 days per week. Also add leg-speed work 3 times per week. Keep up the weekend long run.

Phase 5, Anaerobic Development (March 26-April 22)
Goal: Develop anaerobic speed to the maximum.
Plan: Hard anaerobic track training 3 days per week. Distances/times not as important as general feeling of fatigue. 3 days of sprint training (fartlek, 1-15 min. sprint sessions.) 2 hr. Long run on weekends.

Phase 6, Coordination Training (April 23-June 4)
Goal: Coordinate race performances to fastest speed possible.
Plan: Do coordination races, recording all lap times. Do short but intense speed work (50m sprint, 50m float.) Base training on racing weaknesses. (Over- and under-distance races/time trials.) Include sprint work, leg speed work, and morning easy runs. No more long runs (90 min. maximum). Peaking for Regional and Final 3200m run.

Summer Thus Far

Now, as for my training thus far this summer:

I started on May 29th, on the tail end of my track season. Mileage numbers are as follows:
Week One- 32 miles, Week Two- 35 miles, Week Three- 40 miles, Week Four- 44 miles, and then Week 5- 25 miles (due to uncontrollable circumstances.) All of this mileage has been at either an easy pace, or a nice moderate aerobic pace. I have thrown in a progression run or two, as well, but no speedwork.

I am currently preparing for the upcoming cross country season, which will be my launching board into track. I hope to max out at about 60 miles per week this summer, with a goal of 500 miles total for the summer (which I consider as ended when school starts.) The short-term cross country goal is to break 18 minutes on a flat course (with a reserve goal of 18:30, since CC is so unpredictable.) The Final meet is on October 22nd.
This means that I will have a HUGE amount of time to build a base and go through a full cycle of training for my regional competition. I will have to time to do the Lydiard method of training effectively. (This is a guide to a speaking tour he was doing. It's a complete overview of his system, in his own words.)

There is also a very large issue, though. I live in the northern midwest, and the winter here is horrible. Motivation will be an issue, I am sure of it. I know that if I can survive the winter, doing the training i planned to do, that I will be in a very good position to win regionals. If I do not train as I intended, I might as well forget about it. I'll post the plan that I crafted a week or so ago for winter training.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

7 miles

Just ran 7 miles. Out the door, a mile and a half on the road, to the trails, plod about in there, and then run back. Great run. Nice and peaceful, and my final mile was under 7 minutes. (6:58 or somesuch.)

Tomorrow I will post the training I have done so far this summer, to put it all in perspective.

The Dream

Everyone has a dream. It is different for everyone. A businessman may dream of his first million, a golfer his first pro win, or an Olympic runner his first gold medal. I am a runner, and I, too, dream of gold--regional gold. That's right, I want to win a regional Finals track title--in the two mile to be exact.

This dream means a lot to me because, well, I have no natural talent for running. In the spring of my 8th grade year, I ran a 7:58 mile. I have bettered this to a 5:11 mile and 11:35 two mile after my recent sophomore track season. This is mostly on some misguided, low-mileage training, with a lot of effort on speedwork and little emphasis on base-building. (My coaches are a topic for another post.)

Now, as for my Region. It is very uncompetitive, compared to the rest of the nation. But it is perfect for me and my goal, and winning the Finals will be a great step towards my running future. Let's take a look at the top 5 in the recent Finals meet (in a slow year) :

1. 10:19
2. 10:32
3. 10:36
4. 10:43
5. 10:45

Now, please don't laugh. For a 5:11-11:35 guy, winning this meet would be huge. Oh, and the deadline. June 3rd, 2006. My goal is to be regional two mile champ by the end of my junior year--a great launchboard to some good things my senior year (and beyond.) Reading about goal-setting, it is often said that a goal must be specific. Specifically, I want to drop my two mile time by a minute and a half to 10:05. Wow. I've said it. That means 45 seconds per mile, 22 and a half seconds per 800, and over 11 seconds per lap. In 11 months.

God help me.