Feb 10, 2010

A Training Manifesto: Something About Going Big With Intention and Purpose.

Yesterday before I left work for home, I stepped into the Engineering Manager's office to chat a moment. He is a runner and is in training for the US AF Marathon. He runs with the Hanson group sometimes and was telling me that in the few times he has ran with them, he saw real improvement. He was amazed at some of the miles he was getting in before dinner. 11 miles on a work night no issues. He said taht it did wonders for his confidence as a runner.

Then I read a quick blurb in an EN newsletter where someone mentioned that they are doing their training at threshold paces 8-9 months out from their A race. Holy crap.

Anyhow, this all got me thinking about training in general. Volume, build, base, threshold, periodization, nutrition, rest... there are just so many components to getting the body in shape for a finish, a happy finish, a podium finish or a did not finish.

What you put in you get out.

What do I wish to get out of all of this training? That is the question I am pondering right now. Do I want to eek through weeks of training and expect a... a what exactly?

Do I expect to barely finish... crawling over the finish line gasping for air, some water, and a medic?

Do I expect to finish with a smile on my face with nothing left in the tank, but the strength to get both feet well across the line and a few feet beyond before I collapse in happiness?

Do I expect to finish with plenty in the tank maybe treating the race as any other day noodling around in each disipline just racing the clock before time runs out on my day?

I have never dealt well with noodling. I have never dealt well with performance training either. I guess I always just lived in the safe zone. OK, in MY safe zone. (I need to realize that to some what I do here in my life is crazy, but remember dear friends... there is no ceiling on crazy and one man's ceiling is another mans floor. Where I once thought that I would never go is now my starting point!)

Now this is not due to capabilities, but rather due to my belief (in the past tense - let's be clear on that) that I was not worthy and talented enough to train as an athlete because I was not an athlete. I am (was) a couch potato with an endurance sport addiction. I want to go long and hard, but keep seeing myself as lazy and lacking the neccessary skills to do well, so why do at all.

Why train so hard for a back of the pack finish?

Well, self, maybe if I trained harder I would not have a back of the pack finish.


For the record, when your self esteem is pretty low and you are always finding new and creative ways to put yourself down, this is not so clear. The more circular logic turns linear and you just see yourself at point A - looking out to point B far in the distance, not realizing that B is closer to A than you think.

It is not a relationship of how far B is from A, but more so a relationship of how hard you are willing to work to get to B in the shape you wish. B is right there in front of you, you just have to take the steps in getting there. Sometimes you turn back, sometimes you get lost, but if the net effort is forward - well then. You have progress.

Lord knows that I have put my body through the ringer over my short life. From extreme weight gain to extreme weight loss... from running a half marathon on literally ZERO training ( and I mean not one mile ran in the 4 months prior to the race) to training very hard and not having a race to run at the end of it all.

So here is the deal. I am still trying to figure out what my goals are going to be for Welland.

I want to train with purpose, other than to just finish. I am not looking to cross the line gasping for air. I am looking to cross the line with the biggest smile on my face, feeling strong and happy with the performace of the day, for that day's conditions.

For as much as I enjoy training... I also enjoy achieving something specific.

Before this plan was enacted, I felt like a missle without a target. Ready to go off at any moment... but not knowing exactly where to go to.

Now that I have a race (or two!) and a plan (in cycles even!) and coaches to help get me there (swimming at least), I now need to know where I am going. I have the tools... the car if you will, which are all of the things I have listed prior. I have the map... the plan of which I shall follow to the best of my ability and look forward to every moment of it.

I feel that I am ready to go for it. I want to put my all into this plan and see where I can go from there. Why not? I have big goals in the next few years... time to make my inputs match my desired outputs.

I am tired of living in the what if's... forget that. I am here for the why nots. What do I have to loose?



If I am going to go for Iron... should I not train like an Ironman? You cannot half-ass an Ironman, so why half-ass the training?

No more merely eeking out this existance! Time to go big, go hard, and make each and every workout count no matter if it is base, build, prep or rest.

That is my manifesto on training.

Go big with the best intentions in your heart and the most purpose in everything you do... or don't bother going at all.


Anonymous said...

You are an amazing person and will reach your goal. Get a plan, execute it to the best of your ability everyday and enjoy the race knowing you gave your best. Finish time is Irrelavant in the big scheme of things. Its the heart.

Unknown said...

Jennifer - you are right on - get a plan, follow it, and kick butt! There will be no back of the pack!!!!

TNTcoach Ken said...

Go BIG or go home!

prashant said...

You are an amazing person
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