Monday, November 19, 2012

Drawing back the curtain on the new plan

There is always a next great adventure.  Whether it’s a new job, moving to a new place, a new relationship, there’s always something new.  The day in and day out will change at some point, and it’s always healthy to shake the dust off of a routine and try something new. 
Soon after my Army Ten Miler, Sarah said that she had wanted to experiment with something new to my training routine.  It wasn’t going to be a part of my fall season race schedule, but in between the fall and spring seasons.  This was particularly because I’ve gone almost two years now with no ITBS problems – I had built up a lot more strength in my legs.  Last year, the Thanksgiving-New Year running was very much ad hoc – run or swim as I felt, but no speed, and no reason to get in more than 30-35 miles per week.  But now, we were going to experiment and do something that she has done between training seasons...
High mileage.  She said that I’d quickly get up to 70-75 miles per week.  I looked pretty startled, and told her the most I’d ever run was 60 mpw, and that as during marathon training.  Sarah said that it’s actually not that shocking to do a “strength segment” like this.  How can you get in that kind of volume without injuries?  You take out the speed component.  So normally, I run about 40 mpw, with 2 speed workouts thrown in a week.  There won’t be any speed, just high mileage.  Apparently, you can do one (speed or strength) but not both, at least not for a while, because that’s when injuries are most likely to occur.
So, I am diving into a very high mileage segment.  There will be lots of double days, when I’ll run in the morning and at night.  She said that the first two weeks are quite an adjustment “And you just feel like crap, but you’ll get past that.”  Ultimately, the point of doing this (other than clearly not having to worry about holiday pounds – right?) is to really build up strength during the “off season” and when I come back to the more cyclical training in the New Year, I’ll be read to switch gears and add back in the speed. 
Sure, I needed a little convincing, but really, I think it’s going to be very cool.  This is what I love to do, and a lot of times, I divide my cross training days into two workouts (swim in the morning, lift/core work at night) to simiulate that feeling.  May as well make it a reality!
Plus, there is something about going into the unknown – in this case, ramping up my mileage.  I have dreams someday of running 100 mpw training for a marathon.  The only way to get to that point is to start on a smaller scale for shorter-distance training.  
Today was day 1 of mega mileage.  8 miles in the morning, 4 miles in the afternoon for 12 miles for the day.  So excited.  Felt like a champ suiting up twice today.  I'll get up to 65 miles this week: half done in DC, half done in NY (going home for Thanksgiving!).  It's a good way to change things up, and I am looking forward to seeing how things pan out in this segment.

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