Monday, July 30, 2007

Step Away from the Running Shoes

Why does walking 14 miles hurt so much more than running 26? It appears that it works different muscles which weren't sufficiently well trained, causing an inability to walk pain free for the past two days. I suppose it means that I haven't been tempted to run, helping with this mini break, but still, not pleasant.

That just reinforced to me the problems of trying to do too many activities at once. I can run decently if pretty much all I do is running, and if I devote myself to running-specific training. But when I try to run and cycle and walk, it seems that I end up struggling through each activity but not feeling like I'm at my peak for any of them. Which then leads to another question, I suppose. Is it better to aim to be a 3:45 marathon runner and to exclude other things apart from as limited cross training, or is it better to just do what I feel like and accept that I might not fulfil my potential? I can't do a long run and a long hill walk or a long bike ride in the same weekend, but if what I really want to do is get out there and walk or cycle, then maybe I should just do that, and not worry too much about the marathon training. I'll do enough training to complete the marathon(s), but I won't do it as fast as I could, and I might enjoy what's left of summer more in the process. In the general scheme of things, is that a bad thing? Just because I probably could run 3:45, it doesn't mean that I have to. I'm meant to be doing this because I enjoy it, not so I can punish myself for failing to meet arbitrary standards.

I think I've bitten off a bit more than I can chew, too soon, and next year I am planning to do one marathon at the most, in spring (I'll do FLM if I get a place, if I don't I'll see if there's anything else I really want to do, but won't hunt out a marathon for the sake of running one). That's a bit soon after New York and Amsterdam, but I'd rather train over winter when there aren't as many competing distractions, let myself enjoy myself over summer doing "fun" rather than focussed running and other active things, then get back into more focussed training over the winter. I can put the rest of my life on hold for a few months once a year to train properly for a marathon, but I'm not sure that I'm prepared to do it twice a year at the moment.

My car seems to be trying to give me the hint to relax a bit too. Despite the fact that my legs don't want to walk, I put my running stuff in my bag and was planning on my normal Monday routine - leave car at running club, pick it up and run on the way home (although today's run was actually an "away day" meaning I'd pick the car up, drive up to the meet up spot and then then run from there). I wasn't sure whether I'd feel like running but I wanted to give myself the option to do it if I felt like it later in the day as it's a nice run. Except I got to the car this morning and it showed no signs of life whatsoever. Even the remote central locking wasn't working, and there wasn't even a flicker when I attempted to start it. Luckily cycling doesn't seem to use the muscles that aren't working too much, so I cycled into work without any major drama, but it did make it harder to get to running club this evening, to reduce the temptation to try to run. I suppose I should be thanking the car rather than cursing it...

(And it provides yet more proof that I'll cope without a car over winter. I use it so infrequently that the battery runs down between uses).


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