Howdy doody dudes and dudettes. How has your workweek been going? Have you had to pull some strings to get stuff done?
The beginning of my day was a brush with disaster. I’ve recently been feeling flat, and stuck in a rut with my typical running routes. I attempted to map out an exciting new loop to mix things up and keep things fresh.
Unfortunately I got a little lost in North Seattle, and this route had me slogging uphill through a strip mall rather than running happily like a gazelle on the serengeti.
To make matters worse, at the end of my run I got sent sprawling by a crack in the sidewalk.
After unleashing a few choice expletives I picked myself up and walked the rest of the way home, repeating the mantra:
“Ride fast, fall hard, pain is temporary, chicks dig scars”
Luckily the damage appears to be mostly cosmetic, but I think that I need a mental reset with my training. I’m happy with my mileage (and looking forward to ramping up for October), but my pace seems stuck at a plateau. I’ve been reading a few articles on active.com, competitor.com and running times about how to break out a running rut. I’ve come away with the conclusion that variety is the spice of life: repeatedly returning to the same workouts and race distances is no way to reach a breakthrough…in fact it’s a one-way ticket to boredom-city.
I like running half marathons. I like doing hill repeats, Yasso 800s, and tempo runs (LIKE may be a strong word when it comes to hill repeats). However, I would also like to shave 10 minutes off of my marathon time, and right now I am not on course towards achieving that goal. Luckily I’ve still got two months ahead of me before the Seattle Marathon, which is the perfect opportunity for me to take a step back and shake things up. My plan of attack involves four prongs:
1) Sprinkle in some speed-work.
Mario Fraoili suggests his mixed interval workout: four sets of 600m-400m-200m at 5K pace with one minute of jogging between intervals, and two minutes rest between sets.
Greg McMillan recommends four sets of four 400m intervals with 200m recovery jog, each run at a progressively faster pace.
2) Hit the trails.
My neighborhood is nice, but I want to run through more exciting environments.
Trail running is strength training in disguise; I can’t seem to make myself hit the gym on a regular basis, so I might as well benefit both my body AND my brain with some scrambling through the woods.
3) Race shorter.
My last 5K was in July of 2013. I haven’t run a 10K in over two years. I honestly don’t know what my real 5K and 10K paces are. Seattle is awesome because there are running events almost every weekend all autumn long. I’ll hit up Gametiime.com and find a few fun smaller races.
4) Figure out my fueling.
This is a complicated topic that warrants its own post. Suffice to say for now that my long runs lately leave me feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. I suspect that something is out of balance, and I’m going to be investigating a few different avenues. Carbohydrates are usually the solution to all of life’s problems, but I wonder if I can optimize my consumption.
I’m not going to let a little stumble set me back. I’m glad that I took a tumble this morning, it forced me to think about what my goals are with running and write a plan of attack to achieve them. The Liability Limited Corporation: Marathonsam Incorporated will continue on its mission of global domination and good vibrations.
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? How do you break out of it?
Can you believe how strange and racist children’s television was in the 1950s?