What a week!
I think I learned more about myself as a runner over this last week than I have in a long, long time.
First and foremost – aging waits for no one and spares none.
I am within spittin distance of age 64 and had my arse handed to me on a silver platter by Father Time.
He let me know in no uncertain terms that I may fantasize about what I can still do. However, the reality is that my physical abilities are declining, and things that I could do a year or two ago, now require much more effort to achieve times that were routine for me or are not going to happen.
So, my ability to run paces that I recently considered to be attainable or commonplace are not anymore. This means that I have to have a serious attitude and expectations adjustment.
Secondly, 2021 has been pretty much a shitshow for me physically. I have had one injury after another, and subsequent downtime from running has contributed to my declining conditioning. Since high school, the left Achilles has been a problem, and I know that I have to do more than give lip service to prehab/rehab it and all of the body if I want to continue running in the future. I have to find rehab/prehab/strength routines that work for me and keep doing for the foreseeable future. I am looking at Recovery.com and their app as something that will take some of the thinking out of the picture to not have to recreate the wheel every time I do a routine. For me, I think being consistent is more the key than anything else, and if an app helps me do that, I probably need to try it to see how it works.
Third, I looked back at a set of running priorities that I put together while reading Essentialism before COVID screwed up the world and changed my priorities – more to simply get out the door and run as often as possible. Formal training wasn’t the most critical thing. Racing and group runs were not happening. The most important thing for too long was safely getting through the days, weeks, and months was the priority then.
My running priorities were:
- Be healthy and run relatively discomfort-free – Find training plans that work for me, use prehab and rehab routines to run healthy, and pay attention to what the body is attempting to tell me. Avoid the too much, too soon, too fast mentality.
- Have fun with my running – running isn’t easy, but I want to enjoy it, not have it be another source of stress.
- Geek out on running stuff. I love learning and trying new things (experiment to see what works and doesn’t work) – Running shoes, tech, training methods, etc.
- Camaraderie – Enjoy the company of other runners, I run alone most of the time, so this is a treat when it happens.
- Competition – Yes, racing and seeing how I compare to other runners and the runner I used to be.
Those priorities are still pertinent (maybe a few minor changes are needed), but they are something that I should have had in a prominent place and referred back to them more often. It would have saved me a lot of frustration and goal-setting that didn’t align with my own priorities. Which has caused more than a bit of stress for me lately, and it wasn’t necessary at all.
I am re-reading Essentialism again and getting reminded that I need to focus more on what is essential to me running-wise versus all the crap, rabbit holes, and shiny objects that grab my attention all too easily.
Fourth – I like the Stryd ecosystem, but at the same time, running with Power seems so foreign to me. I know that I need more structure in my training if I want to cut down on my training-related injuries, continue to make progress as the best runner that I can be at my age, and be competitive locally in my age group.
So, I plan to continue to use Stryd’s run plans because I like how they are set up and the idea that my watch prompts me when it is time to change paces. However, I have run by feel for too many years, and attempting to maintain a certain Power number is more of a distraction that detracts from my running than makes it better. Perhaps as I use it more, I will find running by Power to be precisely what I need, but for now, I will adjust the paces based on how I am feeling and then look at all the glorious metrics that the Stryd Pod provides.
Fifth – I am a lot geeky, which means when it comes to running shoes, tech, gear, books, philosophies, etc., that I want to see what’s out there, not worry about brands or names when there is a great deal or something that I want to try or look closely at. I have never been brand loyal, and attempting to stick within a particular brand(s), just isn’t who I am. I am not getting back into reviewing stuff, but at the same time, if I see a great deal on eBay, Amazon, or someplace else, I don’t want to be limited by a preconceived notion that I have to stay with a particular brand, author or website. Unfortunately, as TheWife might see it, if I see a great deal on a pair of running shoes, I am more than likely going to go for it because I enjoy seeing how a pair of running shoes work for me…or not.
Lastly, I have been attempting to do too much and track too many things with my running log, so I have gone ahead and reset it to start on June 1st. With how crappy everything has gone until then, I figured that it would be easier to simply start over, not have to look as often at all the bad stuff, along with cutting back on the different metrics I was tracking and simplify things a lot.
Doing a June 1st reset also gives me a fresh look at my running for the rest of the year. I think that hard reset is what I need to get back to making running fun again. Versus constantly worrying about how I will achieve this goal, improving all the metrics I was tracking or continuing to beat my head against the wall to keep thinking I am still the runner that I once was.
Okay, enough whining and complaining!
This week was actually an excellent week of running. I got almost 25 miles in and had an actual rest day today. I completed Stryd’s Intro Plan, and it showed me a lot of areas that I need to improve. Which was a good thing, and the 5K time trial on Saturday was the reality check that I have needed for a while. As much as I hated how it made me face the fact that I am not nearly as good as I thought I was.
It isn’t easy getting older and not being able to do the things that used to come so easily. However, at least I am out there still doing what I can and am getting my head screwed on in the direction that I need it to be.
New Balance 1080 v10 (Blue) – Have become my favorite go-to shoes for now. They are comfortable, my metrics are better when I am running in them, and I look at them first when I am getting ready to go out the door.
ASICS EvoRide 2: They are still a great shoe for me, but just a little less of a favorite. I run well in the ER2s, and they will stay a part of the rotation until they get to 300 miles.
ASICS Magic Speed – I was pretty disappointed in how I ran in them during the 5K time trial on Saturday. It wasn’t that they weren’t comfortable because they were. It was more that I didn’t feel any pop at all from the Magic Speeds. Perhaps I didn’t go fast enough, or my form isn’t a great match to engage the carbon plate, but they felt very meh, during the run. They feel more like a comfortable daily trainer to me than a pair of go faster shoes. I will probably use them more for planned tempo or fartlek workouts.
ASICS Nimbus Lite 2 – I haven’t run in them for a while, but I walk every day in them. I like how they protect my feet and don’t bother me at all. I could easily use them as running shoes, but I have other shoes that I like better.
Reebok RunFast v1 – A couple of years ago, I had a pair and loved almost everything about them. Except that on the treadmill, they bothered my right foot, and I had to replace the insole with a slightly thicker one to alleviate a pinch spot/crease on the left forefoot of the shoe. Since I am not going into the Super Shoe realm anytime soon, I have no delusions of grandeur after Saturday’s performance. I need a faster 1.0 mile to 10K running shoe for speedwork or racing later this Summer and Fall. Amazon had them on sale for less than $50, which I figured was a great deal, and Bennie got them for me for Father’s Day. 😜
The Achilles continues to slowly improve. I am doing the rehab work on the step ladder and can feel how both Achilles are reacting. However, the left Achilles is still not letting me run freely with it. There is still tightness that doesn’t allow full toe-off for more than a short way before getting the warning signs that I better get back to the land, lever, lift style of running with a shorter stride length and not much of lean.
Otherwise, I am doing pretty good. Although I have to be careful with my right elbow when sledgehammering the tire, it complained enough that I stopped for a couple of weeks to let it heal and will start again tomorrow.
I finished re-reading Make the Leap and will be doing the workbook exercises at some point this week. I thought enough of the book that I ordered the hard copy of it for my library. Yeah, it is worth reading, and I highly recommend it, especially for runners in high school or college, who might be regional level runners, who need an insider’s look at some of the mental aspects of training. I know that I learned a lot while reading it both times.
Plan for Next Week
I have been back and forth about what to do now that my 2-week Stryd Intro plan is complete.
Finally, I have figured out that I don’t enjoy running, much less racing over 10.0-miles. So I don’t need the pressure of training for something that I don’t enjoy doing, just because everyone else is doing those distances or attempting to go after old promises that I never could keep.
As a result of all the thinking I have been doing, I really believe that training for a good for me 5K is what comes next.
So I will use Stryd’s 5K training plan as the base for it and see how it goes. I am not looking at any stoopid time goals, especially after Saturday’s reality check, but I have a baseline and it is time to see how much I can improve that time between now and the end of November.
No, I will not race a half marathon or marathon this year, although I might jump into a half if I am feeling froggy some weekend when I get in a lot better shape. We will see, but there is no longer that artificial pressure to do something spectacular. It is more to enjoy the experience.
Just because I am getting older, doesn’t mean I can’t learn or improve. It does mean that my expectations of how much or what might be different than I expected.