Well, I finally had a decent run today... first one since Ironman where I didn't feel like crap... which I guess isn't really surprising since it takes a while to recover from a race effort like that. I *know* that our bodies take some time to recover, but I really think some of it is in our heads as well. Like, because I know I should be feeling like crap, I feel like crap. Because I know I should be running slowly, I run slowly.
You know what the difference was today? I decided it was time to be done being slow. I decided that my body felt fine and that I could push the pace if I wanted to. So I ran 9 miles and did 2x8 minute hills at a solid effort. And it felt great.
I've been reading Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training For Runners. I actually read it a while back and then I read it again recently. I also read Brad Hudson's Run Faster- once right before Kona (hey, I needed something to do during that taper!) and then again last week. And I really like and agree with the theories of those guys when it comes to running. Neither of them are super conservative when it comes to running training, which is refreshing. Sometimes I read running plans and think that they are so darn conservative... you wonder how the heck you would ever improve if you were so cautious about your running.
In fact, prior to being coached by Jen, I was also very conservative about my running. I was convinced that if I went to the track and ran too hard, I'd end up injured and out for the season. I was convinced that running too many hills would leave me injured as well. And I thought 30 miles a week was a lot. So I was just conservatively putting in slow miles, but not too many miles, and guess what? I was slow. Then Jen had me at the track pretty regularly with instructions like GO HARD. AS HARD AS YOU CAN. ALL OUT. Stuff like that. And workouts that included hills. On purpose. Running up them HARD. And then again and again. I admit, at first I was like, really? I never would have pushed myself that hard, but I trusted that she knew what she was doing so I followed her instructions. And guess what? I ran faster. Go figure.
So given that I am not an injury prone runner, I'm now on board with a more aggressive running plan. And I like it. The Honolulu Marathon is in 6 weeks. I decided I'm not going to run it unless my key workouts give me reason to believe that I can run it well (For me. Running well for me would be in the vicinity of 3:40). The jury is still out on whether or not I'm going to be able to do that, but I think I'm now ready to put in some of the key training runs that will tell me if I'm on track.