Back At It

Well, my training has been almost as sporadic as my blog updates….which isn’t a good thing. I have been running the last few months, though not nearly as much (or as fast) as I’d like. Some of my reduced training has been due to work being very busy and hectic for much of the last few months, though that’s not a good excuse because I can always find a half hour or an hour to run if I’m motivated enough.

A sunrise view like this is good motivation for me to run early in the spring and summer.

Another motivator to run more often.

Scenery like this motivates me to run more frequently.

I’ve gotten back to it over the last few weeks, and am still planning to run the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K this weekend. I’m nowhere near race shape, and I really don’t know what to expect because my mileage has been down this year and I haven’t run more than nine miles at a time since late February. (By the way, my definition of “race shape” is being in a position to run PR pace.) But I’ll be at the starting line this weekend with some sort of decided-at-the-last-minute “A” goal, as well as my “B” goal of just finishing the race. Whatever my “A” goal ends up being, it won’t be anywhere near my half marathon PR pace. I thought about switching to the 5K or 10K, but I really want to run the 25K and my hamstrings have been holding up well enough over the last few weeks…knock on wood. My wife, on the other hand, has been training very well recently with consistent strength, tempo, and long runs. I think she’s prepared to challenge her half marathon PR pace, and hopefully she can beat that pace for the entire 15.5 miles.

The Clinton River Trail - one of the great trails in metro Detroit.

The Clinton River Trail – one of the great trails in metro Detroit.

I’ve been debating trying a different (for me) approach to this race, and alternating a couple of faster miles with a slower mile throughout the race. “Faster” being relative, of course. That seems to work well when I do intervals and will run, for example, 8 x 800 meters with a 200-meter recovery jog between each 800 rep, or 4 x 1 mile with an 800-meter recovery jog. So why not apply it to a race and run a few miles at a faster pace followed by a mile at a slower pace, and so on? I’ve never tried this in a race, and I don’t know if I would be able to keep it up for more than 15 miles. I’ve never had a problem slowing down during a race…but that has always been unintentional. Will I be able to slow down 30-60 seconds per mile for one out of every two to four miles then pick up the pace again? Will I just get sucked into a slower pace regardless, especially once I get past the 15K mark? Or do I jog the whole thing and just aim to finish regardless of my pace? I’m not sure yet how I’m going to approach this one, and based on my last couple of runs, running many “faster miles” might not be happening anyway.

I love running back roads. They're usually very peaceful, and they help me mentally prepare for races.

I love running on back roads. They’re usually very peaceful, their surfaces are more forgiving than concrete, and they help me mentally prepare for races.

Regardless of my pace and how I approach running this one, I’m really looking forward to it. I lived in the Grand Rapids area for several years, and I always enjoy getting back over there. This will be my first race in that area, and I’m excited to run along the river and a little bit downtown. That area had some severe flooding in late April, but fortunately the water has receded quite a bit since then and the race course didn’t have to be altered.

Questions:
Have you ever tried a totally new strategy for the first time in a race (without practicing it first)?

Do you always set goals for races? If so, how do you approach your goal setting if you know you’ll be well off of your PR pace?

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This entry was posted in General, Injuries, Racing, Running. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Back At It

  1. Josh says:

    Matt,
    I guess I’m in a similar situation to you in terms of not running as much or as fast as I would like.There are tons of reasons for it, but there are also opportunities that I pass up. I keep thinking that I’m finally “on track” to get back to PR-type shape, but things keep happening to prevent that. I guess you just need to stay positive and keep trying at trying. :)

    • Matt says:

      I know what you mean, Josh. I set a lot of PRs a couple years ago, and then last year my only PR was by default (my first race at that distance). It has been frustrating to feel like I’m regressing, but on the other hand I’ve had a nagging injury and have had various other things going on keeping me from running as far or as frequently as I did when I was setting PRs. And of course, there have been plenty of days that it has been 100% on me…I’ve just decided to not run, to do an easy run instead of a workout, etc.

      Great advice to just stay positive and keep trying!

  2. Wow I love your pictures so glad you’re on instagram too, although also makes me want to go over there even more… so many pretty places to run! How’s your training going now? Just realised this is an old post! My training is getting there slowly… Anyway, what I came to your page to tell you is I’ve just nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I hope you’ll accept it haha yes one of those, I was suppose to nominate 15 people, but I only wanted to nominate special people like you and a few others. The rules are suppose to be put the Logo on your page, link back to the person who nominated you and then you nominate 15 others. :)

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