Friday, January 7, 2011

Snowy Morning, Indoor Afternoon, and a Revelation

Last night saw the first decent snowfall of the year for Toronto and, despite my best efforts to shovel the driveway (with Owen's help) when I got home from work, I walked out this morning to see that even more of the white stuff fell overnight. After some preliminary shoveling of the sidewalk (because as a runner I appreciate it when people keep their sidewalks cleared) I set off on a typical recovery jog. Although the pace was definitely recovery I ended up working harder than I should have as I trudged and slipped my way around the neighbourhood for my usual 5km (test driving my new MEC running tights for the first time, though underneath my usual running pants for fear of disturbing the children who may be up and about before the Sun). At least 90% of the time I was running through either fresh snow that was probably 4cm deep or through a slushy mess that slipped every which way under my foot with every step.

Oh well, that's what you get here in the Winter and it doesn't bother me too much. After my run I finished off shoveling the entire driveway so that we can get the car out after work without any trouble. Typically I wouldn't care, but this evening Owen is going to the SkyDome for a Toronto Blue Jays event where kids get coached by members of the team on the big field. He's looking forward to it and I really hope he has a great time. I'll be watching from the stands, of course...

At lunch I took things inside for some stamina work. This time I wanted to run at my hoped for 30km race pace of 4:30/km for a full 35 minutes. Did I make it?

Only a trusty HTML table holds the answer:

DurationSpeedPace (miles)Pace (km)

The total run amounted to 5.91 miles (9.5km) and it was definitely a challenging workout. Yesterday's first foray into single leg dead lifts left my ass muscles surprisingly sore and I was a bit concerned with my ability to complete this session. I went through the 5 mile mark in 37:07 (including the warm up, and equal to 4:37/km or 7:25/mile overall), which was nice to see, and as I passed that mark it dawned on me that I'd complete a lot more than my usual 8km on this day.

Nevertheless, I persevered and also had a bit of a revelation in the middle of the run...

I run precisely for the same reason that most people don't: because it is NOT easy.

While some will choose activities that are mentally, and potentially physically, less challenging (in the case of one friend it is lifting heavy weights and confining himself to a very few types of movements with very few repetitions) I get a great deal more satisfaction out of things that are difficult to complete. Things that leave me wondering before, and during, whether or not I will be able to finish. I've lifted heavy weights, and do so now and then during my training cycles, and I cannot say that this type of exercise approaches the challenge that comes with running, in particular stamina and speed training. Five reps is over so quickly it's hardly worth getting worked up about. But a thirty-five minute run at or near lactate threshold makes you a bit edgy before you start, and leaves you questioning your fitness if done properly.

But boy does it feel good when it's over!

For what it's worth this makes sense to me. I wonder if it also makes sense to you?

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Blogger Bert said...

It definitely makes sense to me. And yes with lifting weights etc. you can bust a gut for a few seconds, and then it is over. I also find running to be much more challenging/exciting and difficult. With a great payoff.

January 7, 2011 at 5:38 PM  

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