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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again: Running for Fun, Running the Distance

Winter is behind us here in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. With this morning's easy gallop across the ol' prairie, I can't help but think of Gene Autry's famous country-western song "Back in the Saddle Again."

Running is feeling much better than it did this time last year. The runner's dilemma remains, and I am still reaching for my goals, but I'm on the horse riding. And, I 'm having a good time running, thinking about running -- looking forward to a great spring, and even better summer. As I scope out what the next couple months offer, I see that long, endorphin-laden runs are before me.

I looked back this morning at my running log. I wanted to see how things were a year ago. Detailed records start May 3, 2007, so memory will have to suffice for the most part. In March 2007, I ran around 20-30 miles at most. In April 2007, none, at most.

The first time I ran 5.5 miles was the accumulated miles during a Spivey Running Club track workout May 17. 5.75 miles that evening. As a long run, it was May 24 when I ran 6.25 miles.

In other words, I am ahead of the game. Aerobic base was my greatest deficit last year, and this year, I intend to make it my strength. Speed will come around, but I need to be able to sustain it. No lungs = no good races.

So now, April 2008. What to do. What to do? Run. What do you think? Truly, that is the plan. Lots of easy running, plus the track workouts. May will look similar. Hopefully, if I stay true to my goal, start with Jim's daily workouts and take the summer racing season by storm (by which, when I say storm, I mean mild trickle with a small wind, but a storm just the same).

My rough workout plan will finish April with 29.5 miles the last week, for a total of 104.5 miles for the month. Real life may cause more or less.

I only broke 100 miles once last year, with 102.85 in August. I will sketch out my May mileage once I see how April is progressing. However, I want to kick it up to 150 miles, finishing the last week at around 35-45 miles. Pull May together that way, and fitness should be de facto.

My approach for the June 7 Cream of Wheaton race, pending agreement with Coach Jim, will be to train through it, and not to worry so much about time. I might take a few days less intensely, and not do a long run the day before, but will not think about a PR. Instead, I will aim for a smart race, built on finishing with a hard mile. How fast? Too soon to guess, but a 23:00 should not be unreasonable by then. Expect my opinion of that to change a few times by then.

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