The key to longevity in my sport is avoiding injury. All runners my age that I talk to agree with this. It explains why we become best buddies with our Physical Therapists. It should be easy to achieve for an experienced runner, but it’s not. Running, and I suspect most other amateur sports, are goal oriented. And the goal isn’t to run every day, although it is. Goals are generally event driven and require aggressive training. A runner needs to add distance or speed to train for a marathon or set a personal record. I imagine there are some runners who reach a nice level of fitness and can simply maintain it with consistent workouts that don’t over stress their bodies. These runners all earned perfect attendance awards in grade school.
Such runners seemingly coast along while the rest of us ride a roller coaster of achievement and injury. Our training leaves us constantly on the verge of injury. If we aren’t stressing a muscle or tweaking a tendon, then we aren’t pushing ourselves hard enough. Improving strength requires incurring micro tears to muscles just as building VO2 max leaves us breathless. I have a good amount of training time before my next big event but I don’t expect much recovery to occur. I will try hard to add weights to my regimen because I believe they help mitigate injury. Otherwise my plan is to add hills, elevation and trails – all needed for the Flaming Foliage Relay in September.
Goals need plans. Chris and Keith are both really good at plans. I talked them into joining me in the Boulder Marathon, also in September. I was talked into my last marathon and I’m convinced the only way to avoid that again is to be the one doing the talking. So far I have Chris and Keith. Steve is on my list. Chris’ plan is quite formal – called the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 Training Program. I believe it’s an 18 week plan to train for a marathon. We only have 15 weeks but Chris can jump in at week 3 or 4. Like most marathon training plans, this increases weekly distance with longer runs, also increasing, on the weekends. There are some weeks that remain flat and there is some tapering near the end. I know Keith follows a similar plan. Such plans optimize increasing distance at a pace that minimizes risk of injury.
My plan is to do my best at running 8 miles on week days and then fit long trail runs over the weekends. I probably won’t ever run farther than 15 miles. Probably no more than 12. Marathon training plans will generally lead you up to 20 miles though. I’ve never done that in a workout. This pic above shows me shuffling my feet at 22 miles in the Steamboat Springs Marathon – next to Emily Stout who took 2nd place in her 20 year old age division. This was the last of the big rolling hills on that course. I’ll start my training in earnest in two weeks with my vacation to Pagosa Springs. I’ve mapped out a few roller coaster trail runs already in the mountains. Pagosa looks to be an epic training week.