Poignant Irrelevance

Thursday, April 06, 2006

fun runs

posting seems a little sparse from the rbf lately eh? me included. some of you are rockin' steady though. i can't wait for summer-- everybody will be in prime blogging/running form.

zeke had this interesting post the other day where he talked about how some people seem to be focused on speed at the sacrifice of making solid progress through good, steady long runs. he also mentioned that these same people might be better served to focus on the longer term (say a couple of years down the road) in order to achieve their true marathon potential (like qualifying for boston etc). i'm paraphrasing.

i have a little bit different perspective on that.

first, lets just get it out of the way up front: 'zeke' is da man. i am in awe of his training, and his dedication. its awesome to read about, definitely a favorite running blog of mine. him and jeff, they blow me away. i don't even think zeke was really talking about average shleps like me with his post.

anyway, back to my point. guys like zeke and jeff are on a different planet than myself. they have talent i do not have. thats not to say that i could be 100% more dedicated in order to achieve MY full potential, BUT...

...last fall i was wondering what it would be like to run 3 consecutive 9:00 miles. i ran 10 miles all at once for the first time in my life. crazy stuff like that.

so this year its like the training wheels are coming off a little bit. should i be running slower for most of my runs? yeah for sure. but do you know how exciting it is to be able to run 4 consecutive 8:00 miles on a training run, for a guy like me? its a complete blast. it is part of what makes running fun. it makes me grin from ear to ear its so fun, and it makes me excited about what other schleps like me can accomplish.

currently i have no plans to ever qualify for boston. i have no plans to get even get close to that. my plans are much more humble, they are the plans of the average schmoe. the average schmoe who does run too fast sometimes (relatively speaking of course).

i did learn a lot of things from zeke's post (like i always do): don't run too fast all the time and make sure you are following your training program and not someone else's. but i'm just sayin': running too fast can be really fun. the other thing i really dig about zeke's blog is that i get to see what goes on inside the mind of an elite runner who is passionate about the sport. its pretty interesting.
on a totally different note, one day in cali we went to santa barbara and stopped in at a new fine art place. the guy was still setting up. i really liked the paintings in there! he said they were about $1k - $3k on average. check out the reflections on this one, pretty cool.



  • That's a PAINTING? Awesome.

    I am probably running too fast some of the time, too. But it's just so damn awesome to be able to do it - you are SO right.

    Tomorrow I'll try to hold back a bit... It's HILLS days so I shouldn't have any problems!

    By Blogger Nic, at 10:57 PM  

  • actually....are you younger than zeke and jeff? i have no idea (and um, they know a lot more about me than running) but it's probably good to do short/fast stuff while you're younger and have speed and then longer stuff when you're older. i read that somewhere. (so it must be true, right?) but it makes sense i think. and what if you're not trying to achieve your true MARATHON potential?? but want to hit some other running goal?

    By Anonymous Audrey, at 4:40 AM  

  • First off, I just want to make it clear that I'm not "elite." Not even close. Second, thanks for the wonderful comments. I just want to clarify some things.

    One of the reasons the post came about is because I see all these people who are "only" doing about 35 mpw, but they're running everything faster than their marathon pace. This is probably normal for people that are fairly new to running. However, I was referring to people that have some running history and are running sub-3:30 marathons (8:00 pace). I just think instead of running 7:30 pace everyday, they should slow down once in awhile and run longer and get in more miles per week.

    The great thing about running is that everyone starts out as "average shleps." Every runner has more talent than non-runners. Believe me, you, Jeff and I are all from the same planet. We've just been running longer than you. You have what, one year under your belt? You're full of potential, but keep in mind, achieving your true marathon potential (whatever that is) will take years of running.

    As for everyone being able to qualify for Boston, yes I was talking about guys like you, but only if running is one of their top few priorities. Running can be 5th or 6th on your list and that's fine. But don't expect to maximize your potential.

    Brent, the most important thing for a 'new runner' is to have fun - otherwise you'll be a 'former runner'. So, if you feel great during a run, drop the hammer and take some splits and feed off of seeing improvements.

    I guess part of it is a mind-set. Some people relish running in the cold, dark mornings for 3 months straight because once spring rolls around and they lace up their racing flats, they'll be that much better off. That would be my challenge to you; try to stay consistent with your running next winter. I will bet you that wine bottle photo that you'd see a huge drop in your times just by doing something so "simple."

    Finally, yeah you don't have to worry about Boston. But also, don't be surprised if you look up in 5 years and see that it's within reach. I'm just trying to get people to realize that they have more potential than they think. In business you hear about 'best practices' or 'industry standards.'
    I want people that are looking to improve their running to do the same thing; look towards the fastest people they can find, not just what everyone else is doing.

    By Blogger Chad Austin, at 8:43 AM  

  • thanks for the shout, brent. there's wisdom in what zeke talks about. right now, i'm on year four since i started running marathons and it's been that slow steady base of running that has me where i'm at now. i was running mid to low four hour marathons for the longest time. i've only gone sub four in three marathons, so when you give me props for being fast and then call yourself a schlep, i have to push back and say, "i was there once, too"

    this past year is the culmination of lots of hard work over the past four years, lots of learning and lots of fun. you, brent, have a grand advantage over lots of us. you have a great group of folks that are here to support you, you have a wealth of information about all the aspects of running, and you're blessed with joy in your running.

    give it time, build slowly and enjoy yourself. after all, that joy is the only thing that matters in the end.

    By Blogger jeff, at 12:06 PM  

  • Never under estimate your abilities. As my Dad always said "Can't should not be part of your vocabulary".

    While we may not always meet all of our goals, that doesn't mean we shouldn't aim high. Its often surprising what we achieve when we actually try.

    You had an awesome year and who knows where you will be with your running down the road. Its really all up to you.

    By Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick, at 10:56 AM  

  • Brent, the most important thing for a 'new runner' is to have fun - otherwise you'll be a 'former runner'.

    Amen to this.

    Last year, I aimed too high - set my sights on not only 4 hours, but also on a pair of marathons back-2-back. Finished both, but ended up completely and totally burned out.

    It was like every other time I'd gotten serious about running, only to overdo it and come crashing down.

    Only this time, I think I've managed to avoid comletely laying off. I re-assessed why and what I was doing, and came to the conclusion that I want to be in the running/biking/swimming game for the long haul. And a big part of that is tuning the engine, which, IMO, cannot happen if you're running it flat out.

    So, for this year, I'm pursuing consistiency. Figure out how to work 30 miles/week into my everyday schedule. Lose 20 lbs. Get the body of a runner before I start posting the times of a runner.

    YMMV, but, having flamed out many times before, there's something to be said for "slow and steady wins the race".

    By Blogger Jank, at 10:17 PM  

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