Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Two Good Reasons to Train Smart
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The graphic above is one of the charts from my 2009 Running Log. The log is actually an Excel workbook into which I enter every available daily running stat-- miles, time, heart rate, temperature, humidity, which pair of shoes I wore, etc... you get the idea. Yes, I'm a stats junkie. The daily stats feed formulas for daily calculations of pace and mph, weekly and monthly totals and averages, and charts!
The point of posting this chart is to illustrate two reasons to train smart. I'll call the first reason March, and the second reason December. The distinguishing feature of each month was a forced reduction in mileage. Both were results of poor training decisions.
March, 2009: I had been running fairly seriously for about a year, and had become very comfortable with distances up to about 5 miles. I was running 7 days/week, 1.5 to 2 miles on weekdays, and 5 miles on weekend days. In late February, I felt like I'd kind of reached a plateau, and decided it was time to step things up a bit. So, I doubled my weekday miles. Two weeks later, after a severe flare-up of plantar fasciitis, I was unable to run at all. I decided to walk 2 miles daily while my foot recovered, but on the first morning, I was limping before I walked 100 feet down the road. So, I stayed off of my feet almost completely for two weeks, limping around the house and at work. As it improved, I cautiously started running again. Looking back at the stats later, I realized that I had disregarded the "10% Rule," increasing weekly mileage by 44% at one time! Bad move!
December, 2009: The week before Thanksgiving, I was proud that I had just run my first 40-mile week. I'd been following the 10% Rule, and everything was going well. I ran a 10K "Turkey Trot" race on Thanksgiving morning. Having taken several rest days before my race, I was low on miles for the week. I ran hard on Thanksgiving, and ran a pretty good 10K race. I stubbornly wanted to log another 40-mile week, so I followed the Thursday 6.2-miler with 8 miles Friday, 10 miles Saturday, and 12 miles Sunday. By Monday morning, my right knee was hurting. I ran short and easy, and the pain didn't go away. This case of Runner's Knee resulted in a week of no running, followed by 7 weeks of very cautious, lower mileage running. I'm sure my mistake was running 4 days of progressively increasing distance, the last 3 after running hard in a race. Good training programs alternate distance and intensity, giving ample recovery between hard runs.
Lesson learned: small lapses from smart training principles can really be costly. Greed for a few extra miles can result in downtime and the loss of many miles.
Train smart! Don't learn the hard way, like I always do!