First, I’d like to say Happy New Year and thanks for all the great fun, feedback and running fellowship you’ve given me. Not to mention the laughs and support of my business. I’m having sooo much fun meeting new people online and on the trail and enjoying some wonderful new relationships. This last year has been great for building the base for my business so we can have an exciting jumping off point for 2012.
My favorite new words – Building a base:
I am loving this new term and it may just be my mantra for 2012. My coach, Cathie, and I talked this week about building a running base as I recover from a summer of almost no running and being injured. I used to think my “base” was being able to go out and run 10-15 miles whenever I wanted to. Nope. It’s about being able to comfortably run a solid amount of miles per week and having your body be well prepared to build from there for hills, speed, races. I thought I kind of did that, but quickly learned (the hard way) that I didn’t have the solid base to train from. I ran races anyway–7 of them in 13 months, the shortest being a 13.1–on shaking ground and my legs and foot fell apart.
I saw guy on my run today wearing a “Fall Creek Run Around” sweatshirt. I smiled because I have one of those from that 20 miler I ran in 20 degree weather last year. It’s a small race and I’m proud to say I did it. But it was hard. Harder than it should have been. My legs were tired and it wasn’t just because it was a bit hillier than I thought or that we ran in snow for about half of the race. I didn’t have a good base.
Here’s the basics of what I did wrong:
• I ran too fast on ‘regular’ recovery days. In between long and/or hilly runs, I would go out and run my ‘recovery’ 3-4 miler. Problem was I’d get bored and run it too fast. This means I was adding a tempo run instead of letting my body recover.
• I ran too long too often. Someone wanted to run a 20 miler on a Saturday, “Sure, I’m in!” Next Saturday, same thing. No-no.
• I held myself to a 40-45 mile running week no matter what. This was probably the dumbest idea and meant that if I only had 4 running days in a week, I’d have to run at least 2, 10 milers.
• I didn’t cross-train.
Here’s how I’m building it up the right way:
• I started a back-to-running program that was VERY conservative. I literally ran for minutes at a time, with many walk breaks. 5 minutes on, 10 minute walk, 5 minute run, walk to the finish. I wasn’t even sweating, didn’t have to wash my running clothes or my hair.
• I’ve built back up slowly this way over several months. I can now run 20 mile weeks with 3, 4-5 milers and a 6-8 mile long run. This will last for at least a month – ah, the BASE. Get the body used to being on my feet before doing anything else. Got it.
• From here I will add a few small hills, then speed. I should be at 10-12 mile runs by the end of February. Then I can begin to train for longer distances and races.
• I’m also swimming twice a week and doing pilates and more stretching.
• For now, all of these base-building miles are at an easy pace.
But everything is subjective in running. What is an easy pace?
What’s an easy, “conversational” pace? Let’s get specific. When you’re running partner asked what you made for dinner last night and all you can eek out is a one syllable “tahos” instead of “grilled chicken fajita tacos” followed by “sguh” instead of “they were good”, you know you should slow down cuz that’s not a conversation.
And now I’m shouting it from the mountain tops!
Armed with my new mantra, I’ve been blabbing about it to everyone who will listen. I have a friend who is new to running. She was talking today about how her feet and knees are bothering her. Oh goodie, another person to blab at…”Let’s talk about your shoes, the surface you run on, your form and of course, BUILDING A BASE!” I said. She said she didn’t know what the base thing meant, but it sounded good.
We are newer friends, her and I, so we are building a base with our friendship too. You know, we’ve done all the family-of-origin-drama-and-who-pushes-your-buttons-and-what-we’re-working-on stuff. She knows when to laugh at what I say and when I need a hug. We are learning to read each other, trust each other and inch our way out on that vulnerable friendship limb of real honesty.
Of course, both friendship and running offer life-long learning about building a solid foundation. And, as Richard Bach so profoundly says, “You best teach what you most need to learn.”
What will you teach and learn this year?