Thursday. Huge laugh this morning. Obviously I had a long day on Sunday. Started early morning with a race, brunch and hair appointment, then ended with a dinner party and concert at Radio City Music hall. There was much wine flowing for my birthday and apparently I had been partaking in quite a bit of it though I wasn’t really hurting on Monday, I was pretty “lively” during the concert. You know you’ve had a bit too much wine when you and a former teammate create an upper body workout routine during Sheryl Crow. (But boy, my upper arms do feel a bit stronger this week.)
Meanwhile, cleaning my desk this morning, I grabbed the next piece of scribble and was shocked to find a rather harsh note written to myself in an obviously wine induced moment. At first I was shocked, who would use such language in a note to me? Then I cracked up when I remembered writing this to myself and sticking it in the bottom of the work pile so I would stumble on it at a later point. (This is a little trick I like to play on myself — write myself notes and have them magically appear six months later.) My note to self read:
- Hey You!
Forget the BullShit
You want to do a 5 hour marathon
You have to suffer for it
Inch by Inch
I got a big chuckle out of this message from my alter ego. I remember writing it. I remember the determination I felt when I wrote it. How pumped up I was. Yeah I’m going to run a 5 hour marathon!! Here’s how I’m going to do it. I’m going to push ups and sit ups and hill sprints and swim and bike and run the trails. Yeah!! Rumble!!! That was Sunday night around midnight.
Monday was somewhat anticlimactic. I had to work. I wasn’t that focussed. I did do some light yoga stretches. Very stiff. Was feeling every day of my age. I didn’t do any push ups and I didn’t hit the pool. Hmmm… my big YEAH! had already fizzed to a yeah?
Tuesday I did a 5 mile Galloway run. It actually didn’t stink. I am quite intrigued by this Galloway method and am researching it. My workout called for an easy 4-5 miles on soft surface. For time sake I ended up by the river and I decided to try a 2/1. Usually I do a 4/1 but I haven’t really been feeling that great and I thought I would just give it a try and see what happened. (Galloway actually recommend doing a 30 second run 30 second walk for my pace but I’m just going to play around and see what happens.) It was actually quite revealing.
The first mile was nothing great. I was creaky. My “run” portion was about the same speed as my walk portion. But I was actually relieved to not have to push through my usual first mile of pain. 2/1 I could handle. It helped keep my breathing down too.
But by the second mile. I started to loosen up a little and could see that within my 2 minutes of running I had an opportunity to work just a little harder. Believe me, 2 minutes didn’t seem like a short period of time and when I got my 1 minute break I worked on my speed walking not recovery. Turns out I’m a pretty good speed walker.
By the third mile, I was feeling so much stronger. That’s not so unusual. It usually takes me 40 minutes to warm up. But now I was feeling ready to really run for 2 minutes. I started working on lifting my knees and kicking my heels up. Something I felt I could do for 2 minutes but not 1 hour.
By the fourth mile, I was actually having some fun. How fluid could I be for two minutes? Just let everything go for 2 minutes. What would happen? I could see the value in this. If I can do 2 minutes like this this week, maybe next week I could do 3 minutes like this. Which you rather have 2 minutes of real, fluid, running or 2 hours of a slog/shuffle? I was starting realize that there is a method to this madness.
By the fifth mile, I was feeling really good. Loose, invigorated and looking forward to continuing this experiment. I finished the workout in not some great time (it ended up averaging a 15 minute mile over the entire 5 miles) but within that I had some real glimpses of good running.
When I got home and loaded my Garmin data I was really pleasantly surprised to find my Garmin actually tracked my experience. I started out running a 14 minute mile and walking an 18 minute mile. By mile 3 I was hitting 12 minute miles pace in my little 2 minute run. And in mile 4 I was doing 11’s and high 10’s. Only for 2 minutes. But those were those fluid moments. And my walk pace dropped from 18 to 16. I was pretty happy with that.
It got me thinking. What if I can start doing that for longer periods? Get it so I can do 11 minute miles for all my 2 minute intervals? Then get it so I can do an 11 minute mile for 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes, etc.? Or what if I kept it at 2 minutes but started to get faster and faster in the 2 minutes? I started to see the Galloway method had it’s science. Yeah I could go out and slog through a 14 minute mile for 3 hours. Or I can still average that same 14 minute mile by running a little faster for 2 minutes and power walking one. (I can pretty much power walk at a 14 minute mile anyway). This is very intriguing to me.
Here are the advantages I saw:
- I completed my workout feeling good about myself, not defeated.
- I completed my workout with a whole list of new goals. Goals are what make me want to go do my next workout. Let’s see if I can do that a little better.
- I felt it was better on my overweight — out of shape body. For 2 minutes I could pretend I was light on my feet and my knees wouldn’t really know the difference. My muscles didn’t stay in the same routine for long enough to start cramping or pulling bones out of joint. By mixing up my muscle usage, I think my muscles were happier.
- During my periods of running, I felt I was practicing better and faster form. In the end I think this will produce a better, faster runner.
So today I’m actually going to buy his book and read up more on it. One thing that I’ve already cleared up. One of the people I know using his method only runs 1 hour during the week and then a long run on the weekend. I couldn’t understand how this could be enough running for marathon training and to get to be a better runner. After reading in more detail his running theory, he states this is the MINIMUM you must do. Not the MAXIMUM. He is fine with you running more as long as you are not injured. That made so much more sense to me. I really want to do my 50 miler in February and logic just tells me that I can’t train for that doing 1 hour plus 1 long run.
I also remember when training for MDS, that I built up slowly and I did a lot of cross training to build my muscles. I didn’t have any injuries when training for MDS and all of my runs were a walk/run. (Okay, they were usually more 8/2 and 9/1 but they were still walk runs.) I think I’m ready to hit the gym with some knee building exercises but not overload.
I did a little spreadsheet and I figured out that if I can build myself up to be able to break a 5 hour marathon. The sad news is if I want to use this method, I am going to have to be able to run a mile in under 10 minutes. I know I can’t do that right now, but there is nothing stopping me from making it a goal and giving it my best shot. It is recorded in the NYRR book of legend that at one time I was able to run a 10 minute and change mile. Okay, I disputed it when they published that but according to their records it is true.
The five-hour marathon goal is a longer term goal. Shorter term is to get my endurance back. Get back to feeling comfortable for many hours on my running legs and to finish the Rocky Racoon 50 miler with a smile on my face. I think by the end of February I will be ready to start shooting for that 10 minute mile.
Nothing like a good project to get me going! Today I am off to the hills in Central Park to reacquaint myself with their loveliness….
Here are a couple of good links if you are interested in exploring more into the Galloway method.
The magic mile:
The basic method: