Train like a master*

(*as in old, not expert)

Now that you’ve undoubtedly been so inspired by my last post on cross country that you’ve run out and signed up for the next available race, how do you get ready for it? Hell if I know! After 20 years I’m still trying to figure that one out. But I do have some general rules that I’ve picked up through the ages, and a couple new practices that I’m trying to adopt. 

Run.

This may sound obvious, but you can’t get there without putting in the work. I just watched a great documentary, “Running for Jim“, about legendary high school cross country and track coach Jim Tracy. His training philosophy goes like this:

Run longer so the race seems shorter; run faster so the race seems easier.

That pretty much sums it up for me. Right now I’m hitting about 40 miles per week, with two 12 mile long runs and a day of interval training in that mix. In the spirit of cross country, I’ve been branching out of my comfort zone and venturing into the woods and trails, which abound here on Bainbridge. I’m embarrassed to say that it’s taken me more than five years of living within 2 miles of a very large trail system to finally brave my way through it. Yes, I’m the dork with a handheld map and frequent stops to check the trail markers. But it’s been a great addition to my standard running routes and a good way to cut down on the pounding on the pavement.

Strength.

I hate it. But you gotta do it, especially as you get older. It helps, I’m telling you. This summer I ratcheted up the intensity of my strength training by working with trainer extraordinaire Bethanee Randles at Bainbridge Crossfit Outcome.

CrossFit Cross Train

It’s a good thing this is a wide shot – you can’t see the ugly face I’m making. I think it took a full two months to adjust to the increased work load. My worry with strength has always been whether or not it would slow me down. But I suppose you can’t argue with a 13 second 10k PR, set this summer at Railroad Days. It can’t be slowing me down that much.

Here’s a sample workout.

It’s just 30 minutes twice a week. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? I’m here to attest that it makes a difference. No trainer, no weights? No problem. Do a couple rounds of GOOD QUALITY pushups and burpees, maybe some v-sits and flutter kicks, and you’ve got a nice little strength routine right there.

Intervals.

They’re like the vegetables of the cardio world. At first you don’t like them, but once you start you can’t live without them. I’m a creature of habit, control freak, and statistics junkie, and love the predictability of working out on a track. I do an interval day once a week, pretty much year-round. This season, however, my coach has convinced me (kicking and screaming, if I’m being brutally honest) to find a looping trail for workouts. I mean, this thing isn’t even measured. How can I tell how fast I’m running? Of course, maybe that’s the point. And as evidence that I am truly crazy, this is what I’ve been fighting against.

Johnson Farm Training Loop

Horrible, right? Last week’s workout, here on a .34 mile loop (okay, I cheated, my friend Doreen clocked the distance on her GPS watch) at Johnson Farm went like this:

10 minutes at 80-85% perceived effort, 4 minutes recovery jog
6 minutes at 85-90% perceived effort, 3 minutes recovery jog
3 minutes at 85-90% perceived effort, 2 minutes recovery jog
1 minute hard

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Cross-train.

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No, I’m not a good enough swimmer to own a cap like this. It belongs to my kid, but I do swim twice a week. I’m pathetically slow and I’m sure it’s good physical comedy to watch my stroke, but it feels great to get in the pool and work out some of the pounding. It’s also a bit of a mental break from running, and hopefully aids in injury prevention.

The separation is in the preparation.

Russell Wilson’s words to live by. Happy training!

2 thoughts on “Train like a master*

  1. My friend, you are seriously one of the most inspiring people I know. Your hard work pays OFF. I love training with you (and OMG that face!!! Mine, not yours). XOXOXO

    • Thank YOU my friend! It’s been so great having a training partner at the gym. And YOU inspire me as well, you Marathon Maniac!! 🙂

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