Thursday, January 24, 2013

EG's Running Tips #38 Find Your Sweet Spot

A while back I wrote an opinion based on my experience about running hills and if that in fact will make you faster. Lately I feel like there have been an abundance of postings, articles etc. about the high mileage runner and varying opinions as to whether high mileage is necessary to be a successful runner, regardless of your preferred distance. The one overwhelming response when it comes to elite runners would seem to be yes. The coaches say so, the runners do so and I would imagine in typical fashion most average runners at least attempt, to follow suit. "Well shit, if that runner is doing it and winning races, that must be the thing to do." Right?

Uhhh, No! I will go out on a limb here and say that for most of us, make that nearly all of us there is no way putting in 100 plus or even 150 plus miles per week is "the right thing to do" or even realistic.  So what is the right thing to do? As I always say, you need to determine what works for you. I think taking the recommendations of others and breaking them down by trial and error to determine your optimum level of training is the way to go. I define optimum as more than just performance on race day, but also performance everyday. A few questions to ask yourself may be:
  1. How do you feel physically?  Are you sore and tired or do you feel ready to go?
  2. Are you mentally ready? Excited / nervous to race or could you care less?
  3. Are you looking forward to training most days or are you dreading the thought of it?
  4. Is it adversely affecting your home life or work production?
Push the limits in all directions, both too little and too much. That is how you find your sweet spot. After 5 years of trying to find my sweet spot, I think I may be close. The reason I feel this way?

Relatively injury free
Excited to train
Excited to race
My family and friends are supportive
I am driven to improve, yet satisfied with what I have accomplished
I am happy

By the way, I have only run more than 80 miles in a training week once, and 70 miles a few times. The majority of my training this past year was in the 55 to 65 mile per week range at peak. I ran about 20% fewer miles in 2012 than in 2010 and 2011 while running my fastest 50 miler by 20 minutes, missing a marathon pr by under 1 minute (I did not even train specifically for that) and completed Badwater. I say less mileage with focus.

I hope everyone finds their sweet spot!



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