Friday, February 23, 2018

Run Comfortably, Right Where You Are

The spring racing season has historically been difficult for me.  In January and February, my teaching schedule dramatically increases, and it occupies large chunks of time on most weekends and on many nights, after the conclusion of my day job.

On top of that, the weather is erratic, and if there is one old-man allowance that I have granted myself now that I am (shudder!) 40, it is complaining about, and actively avoiding, outdoor exercise in the cold.  I spent my teenage years outside of Worcester, Massachusetts, where I attended a high school that had an indoor track team, but no indoor track.  Therefore, all of our winter workouts were outside in the spine rattling cold New England winter.  Washington, DC is admittedly much more mild than New England, but still, I spent my high school years--and the bulk of the many years between then and now--shivering in the early morning and late night dim grim cold, and I don't feel the need to do it anymore.

To the treadmill!

Which is only so helpful.

Those two complexities--my worklife and my growing aversion to cold weather--have started to sap my winter training of the strength and consistency that it had in the past.  For the past few years, I have roughly scheduled my training cycles to conclude in late November or early December so that I have a little flexible time around the holidays.  However, once the holidays end, I seem to have experienced increasing difficulty getting started again when I am surrounded by stacks of papers that need grading.

On a more contemporary note, this January found me launching the Kiprunning Route Report, which was a labor of love that stretched back a few years that you should totally check out, share and bookmark.  Bringing that project to completion took some sacrifices, and it lead to the inevitable Bizarre Things that Happen to Websites Sometimes for No Reason at All, which always, of course, require additional time to fix.

Therefore, it was with a great sense of joy that I arose yesterday morning to run two humble miles before work.  As I began my jog, I felt the usual sense of regret that I have in times when I haven't been able to keep up with my training: if only I were in the shape that I were in last month, or last year, or two years ago, or whenever.  These feelings are natural for all of us, I think, and there really isn't any reason to feel additionally guilty for thinking these thoughts.

This time, however, I took a different approach to this particular sentiment.  As I was completing my short jog, and light was dawning on an overcast DC day, I said, out loud: "Be happy that you ran today.  This was the best that you can do right now."

Anyone who knows me at all will not believe this story.  This is not--nor has it ever been--the kind of thing that I would say.  I am generally not a competitive person except when I am running, which is one of the reasons that I dislike it so much when my training gets spotty: right now, I always feel, there is someone else out there who has trained better and harder and more consistently than me.  The only context in which I tend to think these things is in running, likely because I have spent so much of my life on competitive teams of various kinds.

That reasoning, though, is ultimately unhelpful and can probably be damaging in certain respects.  There will always be someone out there who is better, fitter, and faster than me.  This is why I have a perfect record of never being in a single US Olympic race or Olympic Trial race or anything else that happens on television.  All that I can ask of myself on a daily basis is to complete the best kind of workout that I can on that particular day.

That's all you should ask of yourselves, too.

If this somewhat more measured and relaxed outlook is a byproduct of aging, then I'll take it.  It's a better mindset then being absolutely convinced that hammering just one more 400 repeat is the key to fitness.  Those days should also be in the past, where they belong.

Tomorrow, I'm scheduled to run four miles.  I'm thinking they are going to be good ones.

I hope you log some good miles tomorrow--and today!--as well.

Monday, February 19, 2018

GU Flavors, Ranked

The winter is a hard time of year for me.  In addition to the challenges imposed by the erratic winter weather, my teaching schedule gets exceedingly busy, which when combined with my day job, makes it very difficult for me to do things like blog, let alone complete tempo workouts.

It is for these reasons that I am coming to you about three weeks late with a great Runner's World article that ranks 27 GU flavors.  You should read the whole thing, as they say in the Blogosphere!

It should be no surprise that Tastefully Nude comes in last.  It should also be no surprise that those of us who prefer to get our pre-run caffeine from coffee (or tea) will likely think that far too many of these options have caffeine in them.

Finally, it should be no surprise to anyone who has ever run more than ten consecutive miles with me that I think this entire list is wrong because it does not contain the best gone-too-soon GU flavor: Root Beer.

My younger brother was always partial to the Big Apple flavor, which also seems to have disappeared.  But since that flavor was gross, he was wrong, too ;-)

Read the article, and share your disagreements with us down in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Kiprunning Sports Club Saturday Long Run

This is just a reminder that the Kiprunning Sports Club meets for its weekly long run on Saturdays at Georgetown Running Company, which is located at 3401 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20007.

We begin our workout at 7:00 am.

Please contact me if you have questions about joining the Sports Club.

Run Steady,

Coach Komen