Another Warm One — August 25, 2021

What I am thinking about this morning?

The sun is out, it is going to be another hot/humid day, and I am thinking about taking a day off, maybe two. Not because anything in particular is hurting, but more that it is time to cut-back for a bit to let the body catch up to the changes that are happening as I continue to get back in shape.

Speaking of changes, when I look at the changes I have made in my running, since the Achilles Tendonosis crap started back in March. There have been so many, and I am happy with the progress I am making and what I am learning that will help me continue to improve. (You can read more on this in the Other Stuff section below)

There is a lot going on in my head about how my running is changing for the better, even though I still go through too many running shoes.

Planned Workout Description.

I am debating between taking a little time to rest up, to get ready for the Fall racing season (if COVID-19 ever calms down) and let the adaptations that my body has made over the last three months be absorbed.

At the same time, I am scheduled for an Easy — 40:00 minute run.

When I write it down like this, I am more excited about doing the run, than I am taking time off, so I am pretty sure what will happen. After all, I am not a great runner, just one of the masses who is passionate about this hobby of mine.

Did the workout go as planned?

  • Course: Philbrick Laps
  • Location: Sidney

I decided to go for that 40:00-minute run and felt good while running. Due to the heat/humidity, I chose to do laps on Philbrick because it has the most shade that time of the morning and if I needed to cut the run short, I wouldn’t be far from the house.

The weather impacted less than I thought it would, it clouded up a little and the shade trees did their magic, making the run a lot less miserable than it would have been on most of my other courses. Then again, I wasn’t out to set any land-speed records either, so running easy felt pretty good. Who knows, maybe I am getting acclimated to the heat/humidity?

While the mile splits were each a few seconds faster, I didn’t push the pace or purposely speed-up. Most of the time it was me purposely slowing down to keep the run easy.

I did a lot more thinking during the run about how the Stryd ecosystem has taught me to be a better runner. Even so, I am still debating whether I want to continue to use it or move to something else that is a bit less expensive come October. Many of the skills and lessons that I have learned are transferrable to other platforms or training plans. Especially, since I don’t really run by Power and run more on feel.

Although I do stick to the purpose for that day for the most part. It is just that my idea of an easy pace and other’s seem to be on different pages, especially heart rate paces or Power levels. So, with the Stryd plans, I am satisfied if I stay in Power zones 1 and 2 for 80% of the run.

I finally figured out that a running plan is more a set of guard rails to keep me from being too stupid, while getting me to progressively improve.

Then I went on a couple of tangents about getting the driveway fixed and how to approach the person we hired to do the work, after he didn’t show up this morning. He is a nice guy, but had too many irons in the fire, and he does a good job when it is all said and done. Update — I talked with him, and he is going to do it tomorrow.

After finishing the run, I was walking around the Circle to cool-down and one of the pregnant neighbor’s mom stopped me and asked how much I run? She started the conversation with — “You look like a runner.” “How miles a day do you run?” I know she saw me running at the top of the hill, so I just kind of chuckled.

She told me she runs a couple of miles a day and asked when my next race was. I told her I hadn’t race in a couple of years, but was expecting doing one in September or October — dependent upon how COVID-19 is going. She shook her head and said, “Yeah, that’s screwed up many things, hasn’t it.”

I did find out that they will induce labor next Wednesday if her daughter (the neighbor) hasn’t popped before then.

Yeah, that is the kind of stuff that I think about when I am running. Solving little issues, talking to people in the neighborhood, thinking about running and my running shoe obsession.

Just a lot of small-town stuff happens on runs more often than not. I know that I am lucky that I live where I do, and people just think of me as that crazy old guy who is always out running or walking his dog. Not a bad thing at all.

Nothing earth-shattering, that is for sure.

Injuries/Niggles: The left leg didn’t really bother, but I got a few twinges that told me that running easy was a good choice.

Weather: Clear sky, 79°F, Feels like 80°F, Humidity 77%, Wind 0mph from N. As long as I stayed in the shade, it wasn’t too bad, but out in the sunshine, it got miserable rapidly.

Shoes: Hoka Carbon X2 — Felt good going at a slower speed. I really believe that they are a fast trainer and could be used as a daily trainer if I wanted to. Although, I don’t think going from a size 9.0 to an 8.5 would work for me. The angle of the curve at the front of the shoe is such that it pushes my little toe inward and is noticeable as it is.

Socks: Blue Injinji — I could feel the gap between the right little toe and the fourth toe pressing a little, and I probably had the sock on a little too tight on that section of my foot. Otherwise, I didn’t notice any issue or have any complaints.

Overall, it was a good easy run, where if I was running by heart rate it would have been artificially higher due to the high heat/humidity levels. I am comfortable running more by how I feel than worrying about Power or heart rate numbers. Though, I do have to get back to running a little more at my targeted race paces, if I want to race at those paces/distances.

The other metrics are nice as training reference points, but the only one that ultimately matters in racing for me at this point in my running, is that final time when you cross the finish line. Especially, since anything beyond an occasional age group bragging rights or some friendly competition with other runners I know is well beyond me now.

Other Stuff?

The Stryd ecosystem has become my de facto coach that I never had. I have learned more by actually doing a training plan that has cues to keep me on track during runs versus my old methods that obviously did not work. As evidenced by the number of injuries and inconsistent results that I have had over the years.

No, it is not perfect but the Stryd running plans and how they utilize my semi-smart watch to coach me during my runs, have taught me things about running over the last six months. Things that I should have learned back when I was in my twenties, but didn’t.

Things like, each day’s workout has an actual purpose within the overall context of a training block. Although, I still find it challenging to do the workout as planned, versus my old do what I feel like that day and damn the plan. I have gotten better, but need to keep working on it.

That idea that the workouts within the run, (warm-up, quality section, cool-down), along with making the easy runs easier, are far more important than the overall numbers that I add into my running log and geek out over.

Yeah, I used to freak out big time when I saw my average running pace getting slower and slower over the course of the month or year. Now, I know it is an artificial number that really has zero meaning about how my running is progressing. Pace is important when it comes to hitting my race target pace during quality sections of a workout, but otherwise it is only a number that causes me unnecessary stress when I pay too much attention to it.

The other big change is that I stopped doing running shoe reviews. I don’t worry about getting shoes to 50 miles or even 200 miles anymore. If they do or don’t, it isn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, it hasn’t meant much of a reduction in the number of running shoes I go through. After all, I am still a Running Shoe Geek, much to TheWife’s displeasure at times.

There are too many great running shoe out there that I want to try and not enough money or time to run in them all. Yeah, I still write a little about how the shoes are working for me in my RunLog posts, but it certainly isn’t a review. Although occasionally if I find an exceptional pair of running shoes I might post something longer in the Facebook group — Running Shoe Geeks.

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