Sunday, August 28, 2016

Changing Course

Last year I wrote this post where I speculated that I could maintain or even gain fitness as a runner, only running four days a week.

It didn’t work.

I tried the four-day-a-week approach for about two years. And while I didn’t lose my fitness completely, it never felt like I was improving. At best I felt stagnant.

I wrote in that post that I thought I could run big-buckle fast running only four days a week. But I never even got to the starting line of a 100 running four days a week. Because I was never that fit, whenever I tried to run for more than three hours, the experience was unpleasant enough that the idea of running for 24-hours never appealed to me.

Who knows if I could have ever run sub-24 in a 100 running four days a week. What I learned was running four days a week, I didn’t have the energy to try. When you know you’re not that fit, the idea of racing just doesn’t feel that appealing.

That’s where I have been running-wise for a while.

Then, last month, I went to Leadville and Salida for a week, just to get out of the city. Because of my surroundings, I spontaneously decided to run every day.

It felt great. It felt right.

So I kept doing it. And now I'm on a 35-day running streak.

It makes a huge difference. Rather than picking up injuries, the niggles are going away. If I run the same pace as I used to run, my heart rate is lower. I can run faster and still stay aerobic. My energy’s better. I’ve shed about ten pounds.

I’m running less per day than before. But because I’m running every day, my fitness is improving. Much more abruptly than I would have expected.

Like I said, I was wrong.

And as it so happens, the more I run, the more I want to run. I’m looking up races for winter and spring.  The thought of running 100s is creeping into my head again.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had these thoughts. Take it with a grain of salt.

But I feel great. And I’m more excited than I’ve been about running in a while.

This winter, I think I’ll dip my toes into some 5K and local road races to see how it goes.

And so yeah, that’s it. Nothing earth shattering to report. I guess I just re-learned a lesson I had already learned 25 years ago.

If you want to be a good runner, run every day.