We are five months out from the big day. The big race day.
We are five weeks out from the first race of the season. It is time to start introducing – little by little – speed. And I’m not talking the “speed work” that I’ve been doing – mile repeats with short rest – I’m talking 5k pace and better. But not a lot at one time. These are not long sessions like I was doing, or I would risk burning out and over-training myself. I just want to start the process of putting a little kick in my stride, a little more pep in my step. And today I did just that. I cleaned out the carburetor.
It seemed so simple and innocent on the page, just 5 x 1k repeats, at a pace slightly faster than my 5k pace. Recovery was only 200 meters. Not walking, not jogwalking, but slow-it-down-just-enough-to-get-your-heartrate-back-down-and-then-do-it-again pace. It was comfortably uncomfortable. I nailed it. I hammered it. I dusted the shelves, cleared out the cobwebs, and cleaned my own clock. And it felt awesome. Surprisingly, I think this is the first time my stomach might have felt better than my legs, and this may or may not (or definitely may) have something to do with the weights I lifted in the morning – particularly those squats. Nonetheless! I ran at a pace that I haven’t touched in quite some time, and at a distance that I haven’t run said pace at in quite some time. I was impressed with how it went, and impressed with how much stronger I have become – my posture wasn’t deteriorating like it used to when I would perform my speed sessions on tired legs, and my heart wasn’t pounding out of my chest. Well, it was pounding alright. But I could have – without a doubt – kept going at that pace. Which surprises me even more, and almost scares me, to think that I could. It is an exciting thought of a possibility! But I don’t need to worry about that right now, it will come in time, and it will come at the right time, if I am patient and do things properly right now. Speed takes time to develop, and given the higher intensity nature of the exercise, along with the greater physical, physiological, and mechanical stresses on the body as a result, you better believe I am going to allow it time. I don’t need to sprint to injury. I can’t afford that. No one can, and no one should think that they can.
We cannot just snap our fingers and have the adaptations and results we want right NOW like we can with so many other things in this world – this world of “instant gratification”. Instant gratification never lasts, because you haven’t done anything to make it last, you haven’t worked for it, you have done nothing to imprint it as a permanent impact on your life. That is what makes this process of training and planning a training schedule and scheduling races and integrating specific forms of work at specific times so gratifying – because if you stick with it (for those of you who have been following along, this should ring a bell), you’ll get to where you want to go, and you will be able to look back at everything you did, all the work you put in, and think ‘Wow, I did that, that is so awesome’. And it will be awesome.
“Have a dream. Make a plan. Go for it. You’ll get there, I promise.”
– Zoe Koplowtiz