Monday, April 16, 2012
Your Running Routine
For a long time I thought this was a bit of hindrance to my training - am I really benefiting from running the same distance at about the same pace four times a week? Granted, I have used that time for speedwork (tempo or hill repeats), but 90% of those runs have been at an 8:30-9:30 per mile pace. But my recent experience has taught me otherwise.
For about two months, the bathrooms at work were undergoing remodeling and this included the showers. So any running I did had to happen either before or after my workday. I would run early in the morning, or failing that in the evening and I would manage to run home and get a quick strength session in during lunchtime so I wouldn't have to be up at 5:00 five days a week.
My problem was that this threw me off my routine (yes, this has happened before). My body was accustomed to running 4.1 miles three or four days a week at lunch, one day in the early morning and once or twice on the weekend. I couldn't get any momentum going and even had some issues with knee pain that came on suddenly and during runs at various intervals that was impossible to predict and just as impossible to run through.
In a recent article on iRunFar, Andy Jones-Wilkins wrote about "Your Daily Constitutional: What Makes You a Runner." He talked about how the daily constitutional is what keeps you centered. Having your regular run, whether up Green Mountain, on the Appalachian Trail or just a couple laps around a business park is where you build your fitness base and you find your rhythm. Without that routine you can lose momentum and find yourself feeling at sea with your training.
Sure, you need to do speedwork, long runs and the occasional mountain trail to meet your racing goals, but to set yourself up for success, having a weekly routine with a regular route is a great way to keep yourself from losing track of you fitness and guarantee a certain number of miles every week.